Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage says while the Public Hospital Policy Reform paper is a good “wish list” statements that say Tasmania has the worst public hospital system in the country should be avoided.
“If doctors were considering taking up employment at our hospitals, they may well think again after reading this,” she said.
The paper, which was released on Sunday, was a joint proposal by independent health policy analyst Martyn Goddard and a number of other organisations including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and Tasmanian Patient Group.
“Recruitment is currently a major challenge: Tasmania is known to have an unsatisfactory public hospital system and is not seen as an attractive place to work,” the paper said.
“The only way of reversing that perception is to improve resources and to address decisively the seriously poor working conditions hospital staff now face.”
Staff morale is a key area which must be addressed and a reason why sufficient numbers need to be employed to share the load, Ms Armitage said.
“Priorities to me are opening beds with sufficient staff employed, filling locum positions with permanent staff and ensuring accreditation across all disciplines,” she said.
The paper also suggested planing of a new building at the Launceston General Hospital to allow for further expansion was needed as a matter or urgency.
It also called for the establishment of a stand-alone public elective surgery centre in Launceston.
“While a stand-alone public elective surgery centre in Launceston could be of assistance, I would prefer to see that money put into opening and staffing the theatres we have now at the LGH, with ICU and other assistance readily available should they be required,” Ms Armitage said.
”As for a new building at the LGH, it is my understanding that there is space that could currently be utilised or re-purposed and that the Integrated Care Centre could be put to better use.”