Hospitals fail to meet emergency targets

TASMANIAN hospitals failed to meet nationally agreed emergency department targets last year.

According to data released by the National Health Performance Authority, 64 per cent of the Launceston General Hospital's emergency patients left within four hours last year, short of a target of 78 per cent.

The Royal Hobart Hospital saw 59 per cent of patients depart within four hours, and the North West Regional Hospital 77 per cent.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said the figures were outdated, with hospitals improving their performance since the reporting period.

Mrs Ellis said the LGH figures also were affected by capital works. But the data did point towards a bed access issue, which would only worsen under Commonwealth cuts.

"The emergency staff, they're doing absolutely everything they can, but they actually can't physically move people out of emergency departments to wards, because there's not enough acute ward beds," Mrs Ellis said.

Australian Medical Association state president Tim Greenaway said there was no way that the system could sustain cuts without worsening waiting lists. "We have to change the way we're managing health," Dr Greenaway said.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the figures were more evidence of a health system in need of change.

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