Mental health patients are languishing for more than seven days in Tasmanian emergency departments and while waiting for a bed they psychologically deteriorate, self harm and attempt suicide.
Responding to questions on notice from Budget Estimates hearings, embattled Health Minister Michael Ferguson confirmed that some mental health patients at the Royal Hobart and North West Regional hospitals are waiting more than seven days for a bed.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said excessive wait times were causing deaths.
“Mental health patients at the Royal wait almost a day on average in the ED – some have to wait up to more than a week,” Ms Lovell said.
“Patients at the North West Regional Hospital have had to wait even longer.
“We know that mental health patients are dying while waiting for care in our hospitals – the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation confirmed this in a plea for help letter to the Premier.
“Now the Minister releases these disgraceful statistics confirming huge ED wait times for mental health patients but still he fails to act and meanwhile people continue to die unnecessary deaths.”
Ms Lovell said patients were also facing record delays in ambulances and corridors waiting for a bed.
“In the nine months to March 2019, patients at the RHH have been stuck in ramped ambulances or in corridors – or in offload delay as the Government spins it – for almost 10,000 hours.
“At the LGH, it’s more than 2,500 hours for patients wasted waiting for a bed.
“Tasmanians patients and Tasmanian health professionals deserve so much better than this.”
Sarah Lovell MP
Labor Shadow Minister for Health