12 September 2018


The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) Launceston General Hospital (LGH) Emergency Department (ED) members and members more broadly working across the LGH ED have reported a horror 24 hours following huge numbers of presentations to the department continuous bed block and unstable patients being looked after in the waiting room.

In the last 24 hours there have been up to 60 patients in the emergency department, up to 24 patients awaiting in-patient ward beds, up to 8 ambulances ramped at one time, and at one point up to 5 category 2 patients in the waiting room.

“Members have said they have no words to describe the utter chaos that this untenable situation has caused and are incredibly concerned that while patients and staff are suffering the Tasmanian Government sits idle and refuses to fund and permanently open available beds on Ward 4D, Ward 4K and also in Intensive Care at the LGH,” said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary Emily Shepherd.

“It defies logic that while the Launceston General Hospital Emergency Department and the entire public health system is being stretched at all angles the Tasmanian Government refuses to fund positive and immediately available solutions. Instead preferring to amass an enormous cash profit at the expense of the Tasmanian people and their health.”

Over the last 6 years, the LGH has seen an increase in presentations by over 1,500 and a significant increase in patient acuity. An additional 100 resuscitation presentations and 1,106 category 2 presentations have occurred during this time. This means that there is potentially an additional 1,200 patients needing in-patient beds due to these patients presenting being sicker and more acute.

ANMF members at the LGH ED have been engaged in industrial action since March this year to highlight the continuous pressures on the ED and the entire hospital as a result of bed block.

They have, and continue to hold, daily vigils to show their support for their colleagues and their patients as a sign of desperation to have this dire situation addressed by the Government.

“ED members report that they have managed to the best of their ability to support wherever possible the safest care that they can despite the chaotic and unsafe environment in which they have had to provide patient care. This has only been enabled by their incredible commitment to their patients and their amazingly cohesive team. However, it is essentially a time bomb where even their absolute best at some point will not be enough,” said Ms Shepherd.

“The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation are today calling upon the Premier Will Hodgman and the Treasurer Peter Gutwein to put Tasmanians and health before their cash surplus – before a community member has to pay the ultimate price for the governments fiscal policy.”


Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021