22 November 2018

ANMF dismayed by the Acute Health Services Inquiry being constrained by lack of transparency

After several public hearings and site visits to major hospitals across the state, the Legislative Council on Tuesday 20 November 2018, released its second interim report inquiring into acute health care services in Tasmania.

It is disappointing to see that the Committee notes they are still awaiting information from the Minister for Health and as a result have not been able to produce their final report. However, for those who are working in the Tasmanian health system the report will not come as a surprise.

“It is affirming to see an acknowledgment that overcrowding is a patient safety and quality of care matter. Overcrowding means patients may not get the care they need while nurses and midwives become overwhelmed and distressed because they often cannot provide even basic care,” said Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) Secretary Emily Shepherd.

“The Royal Hobart Hospital, Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Hospitals have been operating at the highest levels over the last couple of days. Ambulances continue to be ramped, and bed block continues with patients waiting too long for in-patient beds.”

“The ANMF hope that the Minister for Health will pay attention to this report and not dismiss the recommendations that have been put forward by choosing to instead continue the Tasmanian Governments future promises for health care services. We need to see immediate action and more importantly increased funding to ensure that patient and staff safety does not continue to be compromised,” said Ms Shepherd.

The interim report comes as ANMF members continue to ask the Tasmanian Government to retain, recruit and recognise the nursing and midwifery workforce. Yet these calls seem to fall on deaf ears.

“If this state is going to be able to provide patient care into the future, the Tasmanian Government must do something immediately to address the impending shortage of nurses and midwives and the large shortfall in average salary compared with interstate jurisdictions,” said Ms Shepherd.

Nurses and midwives have vowed to continue industrial action until the Tasmanian Government present an offer they believe will give them confidence to provide safe and quality care for the future.

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Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021
Email: emily.shepherd@anmftas.org.au