PATIENTS with gallstones or hernias faced never having their necessary operations unless they suffered serious complications that required emergency surgery, an inquiry into Tasmania’s health cuts was told yesterday.
Leading Tasmanian health professionals have called on the Federal Government to take over the state’s public hospitals, calling the current health system a “dog’s breakfast” at a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of $100 million in health cuts.
A lack of funding had caused avoidable deaths and there would be more if nothing was done, the Legislative Council committee heard yesterday.
And Dr John Davis, the Australian Medical Association’s state president, called for a total redesign of Tasmania’s ailing public health system.
“The system is broken, and it has been broken for a very long time,” Dr Davis said.
“It’s broken at a state level, it’s broken at a federal level. There is no integration; no one talks to each other.”
He said the solution to fix the sinking health budget was to make the Federal Government responsible for funding all Tasmanian healthcare.
“Tasmanians deserve the same level of healthcare as any other Australian and we are not getting it at the moment,” he said. “We have to sit down and redesign the [state health system] with one funder.”
Elective surgeries were identified as one of the biggest problem areas, with waiting lists set to escalate and would result in the number of emergency surgeries increasing, costing the health system financially and having a flow- on effect across the whole Tasmanian community.
Meanwhile, general practitioner Graeme Alexander told the committee the $100 million in cuts announced last year was the worst thing that could happen to the already ailing health system.
“How anyone could have come up with the idea this was somehow fiscally responsible is mind boggling,” he said, likening the situation to the sinking Titanic and saying the state needed to jump on the nearest lifeboat.
He added: “The lifeboat in this case is a Federal Government takeover. We need a federal takeover with considerable local input into how our hospitals are run.”
Before the recent cuts, Tasmania had already won the “wooden spoon” in nearly every category of health care.
However, he warned that already disastrous figures would now only get worse.
The summer period is usually the quietest for the Royal Hobart Hospital but AMA acting secretary and Hobart endocrinologist Tim Greenaway said the hospital had been full over recent weeks.
That situation had caused grave concern in regard to what would happen with the flu season expected to hit Tasmania in a few months.
The lack of integrated healthcare was identified as a fundamental problem by several health practitioners who made submissions into the Legislative Council inquiry at Parliament House yesterday.
Original article source The Mercury
Ever since the last election the Government has had more cabinet restructures than I’ve ever had Sunday roasts and the total incompetence has become all to obvious. There’s been dramatic cutbacks in crucial services while the politicians have lined their pockets with a 2% pay rise (more than enough to keep essential services going) I am truly ashamed to be Tasmanian. I also belive the Tasmanian Governor has a lot to answer for by simply telling the Labor party to form a minority government as the election was a stalemate with no clear winner (blame the Hare-Clark system) The current opposition has no clear plan to remedy the current situation but to simply criticise all the current incompetence.
The question was raised that the Federal Government should intervene, but it too has its share of problems and really doesn’t have much time for the state of Tasmania (except in marginal seats that are in the north of the state!)
So really what does this mean for fellow Tasmanians? Simple, don’t get sick or expect to have that elective surgery (that you’ve been waiting for) done anytime soon (I’m on the public waiting list and have been for 2 1/2 years now) as the status of Category 1 has about as much meaning as take a number from this machine, Oh, is now out of paper… (due to cut backs!) 😐