Sarah Courtney must tell Tasmanians what actions she is taking to address serious failings in the public health system following her meeting with the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine today.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said the College this week added its voice to the chorus expressing grave concerns about patient outcomes and staff wellbeing because of a system in crisis.
“Data released by the College showed Tasmania’s two major public hospitals are the worst in the country in terms of access block and emergency department waits of more than 24 hours.
“In September Sarah Courtney told us that a strategy had been implemented to deal with chronic overcrowding and patient flow at the Royal and that things were improving. What we now know is that at the very same time the Government was telling everyone things were improving, the College was collecting data that showed the opposite.”
Ms Lovell said the ACEM data was just one in a torrent of issues revealed over the past week, including:
- Senior clinician John Burgess removed from his position in apparent revenge for speaking out against Government inaction on the health crisis.
- No units of the Health Department – including the major hospitals – have been provided with a budget, halfway through the financial year.
- No clarity on the only solution the Government has pointed to, the opening of the new K block of the Royal Hobart Hospital.
“Not only do we not know when the new section of the hospital will open, it seems nobody can say for sure how many new beds there’ll be, when those beds will be available, whether they’re funded or how they’ll be staffed.
“Sarah Courtney cannot continue to hide behind parliament and the bureaucrats within her Department. There’s a reason for Ministerial accountability: one person at the top who either shows leadership or allows the system to crumble.
“What we’ve seen this week is a reactionary and chaotic response to the mounting criticism levelled against the Government. Sarah Courtney needs to take responsibility and set a clear direction for the health system.”
Shadow Health Minister