Tasmania’s elusive health minister failed again today to articulate a plan for Tasmania’s struggling health system.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said Sarah Courtney has not given Tasmanians any clarity on when the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment will be complete, or what new capacity it will create.
“Data from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine shows the Royal is one of the worst performing in the country in terms of access block and emergency department waits of more than 24 hours.
“To date, Sarah Courtney’s only solution has been to point to the ‘imminent’ opening of 44 of the 250 promised additional beds at the Royal. But with the project experiencing serial delays and problems, direct questions about a revised opening date and the number of beds have been avoided.”
Ms Lovell said in the past year 1800 patients waited more than 24 hours in the ED compared to just two across Melbourne’s four major hospitals.
“We know that extended waits in the ED contribute directly to worse health outcomes, including preventable deaths.
“There are now serious questions for the Health Minister about the real increase in capacity, and when this will be delivered.
“The Minister did not deny that 10 beds would be lost when a bed leasing agreement with the Hobart Private Hospital ends. That means the actual increase in beds will be 34, not 44 as promised by Sarah Courtney and Will Hodgman.
“There is also significant work to be done before any new beds can be opened and it’s looking less and less likely that will be done in time for the Government’s promised February deadline.
“Sarah Courtney needs to reveal her plan for Tasmanians who are waiting unacceptably long for surgery and emergency medical treatment in our public health system.”
Shadow Health Minister