Tasmanian Greens MPs | ED Review Must Be Met With Urgent Action

Tasmanian Greens MPs | ED Review Must Be Met With Urgent Action
Tasmanian Greens MPs | ED Review Must Be Met With Urgent Action

An independent review into Tasmania’s emergency departments has outlined some of the systemic challenges facing the health system and highlights the failure of State Government to act on key issues and solutions that have been raised for years.

This report shines a spotlight on serious and ongoing issues in health, such as poor governance, an absence of leadership, cultural issues, and a lack of accountability. These are issues that unions, staff, the Greens, and others have been raising with the government for years – only to be ignored. We hope this report will finally see that change.

Given the importance of our health system, and how much of a focus it has been for the community, some of the findings of this report nearly beggar belief. How is it possible that after all this time there is still a “disconnect” managing patients who are moving through the health system? That capacity management is “poor”? That implementing recommendations is “slow?” Or that there’s “inadequate” capability to make improvements at a local level?

This report has shown the dire state of what is occurring within EDs, but it’s also exposed the fact the government has failed to properly implement much-vaunted past policy announcements. Too often we’ve seen politicians more interested in making announcements than in making a difference. That has to change.

What this review hasn’t looked at – because it wasn’t allowed to under its Terms of Reference – is the critical short-staffing in hospitals. Whether it’s in the ED, or in other wards, staffing has a huge impact on patient flow in, through, and out of hospital. Despite some election promises from the government, this remains a major issue.

All Tasmanians understand the health system is complex and that there’s no quick fix. But when mental health patients are waiting in the ED for over 10 hours on average (as this report shows), it’s clear we need to see ambitious action happening as quickly as possible.

It’s good the Health Minister says he accepts this review’s recommendations, but we can’t have yet another situation where nothing actually changes. To make sure this work is done properly we need the Minister to make this a central focus. He also needs to make the investment that’s needed to recruit and retain the staff who will play such an essential role in making positive change.

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