Tasmanians suffering mental ill health have been yet again disregarded by Health Minister Michael Ferguson with the state’s only mental health facility for older people left at serious risk.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said staff at the Royal Fagan Centre in Hobart had been placed in an impossible and dangerous positon with a lack of resources forcing the closure of beds and care being severely compromised.
“Staff have been told by management that that patient care is compromised by critical shortages in staffing and this has led to a number of serious incidents,” Ms Lovell said.
“Yet – unbelievably – the government, through spokespeople for Michael Ferguson, are denying clear facts.
“It’s not good enough to slash resources and place lives at risk and then ignore and deny what is happening.
“The bed closures at the Roy Fagan Centre will have a catastrophic fallout across the health and hospital system.
“The fact that the centre is now unable to accept new patients will obviously have an effect on the Royal Hobart Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry which is not able to discharge people to the centre.
“That has an effect on members of the community who are presenting to the emergency department which we know is the worst possible place to be when you are suffering from mental ill health.
“It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Hodgman Government is struggling to recruit nurses and other medical staff when from April 1 this year, Tasmanian nurses will become the lowest paid in the country.
“The health system continues to go from crisis to crisis under Michael Ferguson.
“Staffing levels are at such critical lows that it is now having an impact not only on patients, but the staff who remain working in extremely stressful and often dangerous circumstances.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Minister for Health and Mental Health