Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health
Health is a key priority of the Hodgman majority Liberal Government, which is why we are committed to supporting the Royal Hobart Hospital by delivering 250 additional beds by 2024.
This is the centrepiece of the long-term plan we took to the election to invest into Tasmania’s health system, and in the 2019-20 budget we are continuing to do this through a record $8.1 billion investment over four years.
Today, I can announce the first 44 of these additional permanently funded and staffed beds will open immediately on commissioning of K-Block, which is on track to occur in February next year.
These additional beds will improve patient flow, working to improve Emergency Department waiting times and ramping, and will improve access to surgery, as well as mental health care.
It is estimated that around 2,500 extra patients will be treated each year as a result of these bed openings, which comprise:
- 13 General Medical beds;
- 15 Surgical beds;
- 6 Mental Health beds as part of a new Mental Health Assessment Unit, which will be located in J-Block where mental health is currently located; and
- 10 Adolescent beds, with the remaining 6 beds in that unit to open later in 2020.
Once the adolescent ward is fully open later in 2020, there will be 50 additional permanent publicly funded hospital beds on site at the Royal.
These new beds, along with the relocation of existing patient services to K‑Block, will vastly improve the patient experience and patient flow across the RHH.
This plan is based on expert advice, including consultation with the Chair of the Clinical Planning Taskforce, the Chief Psychiatrist, and the Royal Hobart Hospital Executive.
Clinical planning will commence immediately and additional health professionals will be recruited to open the beds.
The cost of these measures this financial year will be met from $40 million for Emergency Care and Bed Access, which was included in this year’s budget.
Further funding of $132.1 million is provided over the Forward Estimates for additional beds at the Royal.
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is investing in essential services to provide Tasmanians with the right care, in the right place, at the right time.