Public hospital policy reform paper recommends state health overhaul

A new paper has painted a bleak picture of Tasmania’s health system, calling on the state government to open more beds and employ more staff.

The joint statement on public hospital policy reform was made on behalf of independent health policy analyst Martyn Goddard and organisations like the Health and Community Services Union and the Community and Public Sector Union.

The perceived need for planning around a prospective new building at the Launceston General Hospital was prominent in the paper, as was the potential for establishing a stand-alone public elective surgery centre in Launceston.

The paper made a significant number of recommendations, including the establishment of 200 extra hospital beds (80 per cent of them acute), the appointment of additional hospital staff and the improvement of preventative health services.

Moreover, the paper suggested that close to 200 more beds would likely be needed come 2022.

“On almost all measures, Tasmania has the worst public hospital system in the country,” the paper read.

“There is no excuse for these failures of policy and administration.

“Short and long-term strategies need urgent development … in order to support the Tasmanian health system to meet future demand.”

Health Minister Michael Ferguson welcomed the paper, saying the government was already acting on some of the recommendations.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the paper identified there was a health “crisis” in Tasmania.