14 February 2018
ELECTION PROMISES BRING NO RELIEF FOR STATE’S BED BLOCKED EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS
Members of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) working in the State’s emergency departments (ED) are struggling with bed block, ambulance ramping, and overcrowded emergency departments while political parties continue to announce their health policies. These policies are bringing no relief to nurses caring for patients in overcrowded emergency departments, nor reducing wait times for patients.
Today, members at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH) report over 30 admitted patients are awaiting beds in the ED. This follows an incredibly challenging long weekend at the RHH with one patient ramped in an ambulance for over six hours waiting for an emergency department trolley to become available.
ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd said that “the ongoing bed block challenges are a result of a lack of capacity in the State’s acute hospitals. With presentations to Tasmania’s emergency departments increasing by over 15,000 in the last five years with minimal increase, in fact a decrease in, in-patient beds at the RHH it is no surprise that capacity is a constant issue.”
While the situation is most critical at the RHH, emergency departments across the State including the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) and the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) are also experiencing bed block and long emergency department wait times.
“Yesterday the emergency department at the MCH was completely full, it had four ambulances ramped waiting to off load patients. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly frequent scenario reflective of a greater state-wide issue.”
“Members at the LGH are also reporting ongoing frustration with bed block and the lack of resolution. Treating patients in the waiting room as the department is full, is a daily occurrence. Members working at the LGH report that the decanting process to alleviate an at capacity department is also not an adequate solution as patients have limited access to showers and have to remain on ED trolleys rather than appropriate beds.”
In the lead up to the 3rd March 2018 State Election, political parties have been busy releasing their health policies and commitments for implementation once elected.
“While the health policies are a welcomed acknowledgement of the ongoing challenges with poor capacity across the State’s public hospital’s and associated bed block, it does not bring any immediate relief to the nurses working in ED or the patients awaiting a bed in an incredibly stressful environment.”
“Whichever party is elected they will need to take immediate action to address this critical issue, as nurses are tired of propping up inadequately resourced public hospitals” said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary , Emily Shepherd.
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