Tasmanian Labor welcomes the government’s belated recognition of the state’s elective surgery backlog and action to address it but questions whether additional funds alone will actually help address the problem.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said what is really needed is a long-term plan focussed on delivering better health outcomes for Tasmanians.
“Even before COVID-19, more than 11,000 Tasmanians were waiting for elective surgery,” Ms Lovell said.
“According to the latest health system dashboard there are now 11,342 people on the waiting list.
“Labor is pleased to see this additional government funding to try to get people off waiting lists and into hospital beds.
“But questions remain about how the promised extra 120 procedures a week can be delivered with hospitals already operating at and beyond capacity.
“Without action on bed block, there is a risk that this surgical blitz will target low-risk, less complex procedures, leaving those with more complex and dangerous conditions waiting even longer.
“It is also important that we have adequate funding and resources for continuity of services like outpatients’ clinics to ensure Tasmanians can access early management of their condition and potentially avoid surgery.
“There is no doubt that extra funds are needed. But we also need a long-term, comprehensive plan that delivers better health outcomes and a better health system for all Tasmanians.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister