AMA Tasmania declares no confidence in Tasmanian Health Service executive

AMA Tasmania president Dr Stuart Day
AMA Tasmania president Dr Stuart Day

Australian Medical Association Tasmania says the state’s hospitals are becoming less safe and an unprecedented number of serious complaints have been made about the Tasmanian Health Service’s senior management.

It has led to the association declaring no confidence in the THS executive.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the government maintained confidence in its senior management.

“I am aware that some doctors have got problems but what we don’t want is personality politics to stop us getting the best possible health outcomes for the community,” he said.

“The community expects us to work together, not to be fighting. They expect us to be solutions-oriented and that’s what I’m focused on.”

AMA Tasmania president Stuart Day said under the current CEO and centralised senior management, the THS was “plagued by governance dysfunction, deteriorating patient safety indicators, worsening hospital overcrowding and a toxic bureaucratic culture that is placing the welfare of patients and staff at risk”.

“AMA Tasmania is receiving an unprecedented number of serious complaints from staff based in Tasmania’s public hospitals as well as from general practitioners regarding the poor performance of the THS CEO and the actions of his executive management team,” he said.

“Our opinion on the ground is that the safety of our hospital system is at risk and there are indicators both internally and externally that show that safety is not as good in our hospitals as 12 months ago.”

Dr Day said the THS was created in July 2015 with the aim of improving public hospital service delivery, quality and patient safety.

“But this has clearly not been the case.”

He said the AMA alerted the government to its “grave concerns” over a number of months, but hadn’t achieved a resolution.

“We wish to make it clear that AMA Tasmania still fully supports the Tasmanian Clinical Services Plan with is role delineation framework, however, the current implementation has clearly failed.”

Mr Ferguson said this week’s budget would provide significant extra funding to address the issues of bed access at the Royal Hobart Hospital. 

Health Minister Michael Ferguson

Health Minister Michael Ferguson

“It’s important that we continue to build upon the improvements we’ve achieved in the Tasmanian Health System,” he said.

“This government doesn’t think the health system is as good as it should be. That is why we’re employing more nurses, more doctors, more allied health professionals, and that’s why the upcoming budget will provide additional funding to address the system issues.

“As minister, I intend to be a peacemaker. I want THS management to continue to work with the AMA and the AMA to work with THS executive.

“We’ve got a difficult task in Tasmania to get the health system to be as good as it ought to be, as good as Tasmanians expect, but calling for sackings won’t help patients.”