Easing demand in our public health system

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Health

The Tasmanian Government has written to our major private hospitals to confirm acceptance of immediate and longer-term initiatives that will take pressure off our public health system and help more Tasmanians get the care they need in the right place, at the right time.

With continually increasing demand, it is vital we use every available service to find innovative ways to reduce pressure, which is why the Tasmanian Liberal Government committed at the election to establish a one-off $20 million fund to enable private hospitals to support our public hospitals.

Private hospitals submitted proposals to the Government following our initial roundtable on May 25, which included ways to help us meet our ambitious elective surgery schedule, as well as increasing access to general medical, surgical, rehabilitation and palliative care beds.

Representatives from Hobart Private Hospital, Calvary Healthcare (north and south), the North West Private Hospital and the Hobart Clinic presented proposals to improve patient flow and access to care and reduce waiting times for elective surgeries.

All the proposals were thoroughly reviewed by an expert panel and many of them have been selected for immediate funding with a number of longer-term proposals still being considered.

Successful proposals include:

  • The purchase of theatre time/elective surgeries including endoscopy/gastroscopy and colonoscopy;
  • An agreed escalation/overflow process to divert ambulances in periods of high demand;
  • Private Hospital Liaison and Flow nurses to transfer privately insured inpatients where clinically appropriate; and
  • The purchase of Angiography Suite and Dialysis services.

The $2 million commitment to the Hobart Clinic for the redevelopment of their current 27-bed facility to a new 48-bed hospital located at Rokeby remains unchanged.

Initiatives selected for immediate funding are expected to commence in the 2021-22 financial year.

Several specific mental health initiatives are currently being considered to boost our capability and capacity in the delivery of mental health services across the state, and further information will be available in coming weeks.

We are continuing to look at all avenues to improve our services and reduce patient waiting times, and we have provided the biggest ever boost to elective surgery, with an additional $120 million investment, taking the total figure to $156.4 million over four years.

This will enable us to deliver an additional 22,300 elective surgeries and endoscopies for Tasmanians.

More than ever we must look at all options to provide better, faster access to care for all Tasmanians, and our $20 million fund will go a long way to helping us achieve this.

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