Comprehensive plan needed on surgery backlog

Tasmanian Labor
  • First K Block surgery welcome but more resources needed
  • Big job ahead to catch up on surgeries, with pre-COVID waiting lists already at record numbers
  • Long-term plan, more funding needed to address systemic issues
  • The first surgery in the Royal Hobart Hospital’s newly opened K Block is welcome but much more is needed to catch up on the state’s backlog of surgeries and fix the health system.

    Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said what is really needed is a workforce plan, more short-term funding and a long-term plan to look after Tasmanians’ health and reduce demand for surgery.

    “Before COVID-19 hit, Tasmania’s elective surgery waiting lists were already at record high numbers, with more than 11,100 people waiting for surgery,” Ms Lovell said.

    “And while we won’t have current numbers until later in the year, the impact of COVID-19 is undeniable, given the national decision in March to cancel most elective surgeries.

    “Even though some have resumed, there can be no doubt that this disruption will leave Tasmania with an even greater backlog of surgeries, presenting an even bigger challenge, not only to catch up but also to improve the health system generally.

    “While Labor is pleased to see the first surgery taking place in K Block, a new building will not be enough on its own to improve our ailing health system.

    “Labor welcomes any investment into Tasmania’s health system, but what we really need is a Government that is willing to take investment into preventative health and community-based health care seriously, so we can reduce the need for surgery in the first place.

    “We also need a workforce plan and more funding in the short term to ensure the system is adequately resourced.

    “Tasmanians have been waiting too long for surgery and they deserve a comprehensive plan to get them off the waiting lists and into hospital beds.

    “We have learnt many lessons from COVID-19 – one of the most important is that Tasmanians deserve a properly resourced health system. It’s time to address this issue and look after all Tasmanians.”

    Sarah Lovell MLC

    Shadow Health Minister

    /Public Release. View in full here.