Health unions say the Launceston General Hospital has reached crisis point, with patients waiting up to four days to be moved to acute wards.
As a result of the increased demand, vaccinated patients were admitted to 6D at the weekend, despite the Health Department halting admissions on the ward due to an influenza A outbreak.
On top of the flu cases, there were also two confirmed cases of norovirus on the ward on Tuesday.
“The number of confirmed cases of influenza A in ward 6D at the Launceston General Hospital remains at six,” Tasmanian Health Service group director of operations for the North and North-West, Eric Daniels, said.
“An additional four patients have been tested for influenza with the results pending.”
“Two patients on the ward have confirmed cases of norovirus.”
A third patient is under review for the vomit bug.
“During a period of high demand for inpatient beds at the weekend, several patients were asked their flu vaccine status,” Mr Daniels said.
“The situation on the ward was fully disclosed to them prior to them being admitted there. The vaccine provides protection from the illness.”
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian branch secretary Neroli Ellis said patients had waited up to four days in the past week to be moved to an acute ward.
“There has been high demand over the last few days,” she said.
Health and Community Services Union assistant state secretary Robbie Moore said Sunday was particularly bad, with the Emergency Department full and ambulance ramping.
“There was absolute chaos,” he said.
“There were extensive waits. It did seem to be a peak event around the outbreaks that were occurring and are happening across the state.
“This is what we’ve been talking about for months, with the situations we were already having, and we hadn’t even reached the peak time for influenza outbreaks, and now that they’ve happened, the system just cannot cope.”
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A Health Department spokeswoman said the hospital was experiencing increased demand for inpatient beds.
“In accordance with the hospital's escalation plan additional bed resources are being used across the facility. LGH staff are working hard during this busy period.”
Mr Daniels said infection control protocols were still in place on ward 6D.
“Additional cleaning is being conducted to prevent further spread of the virus. Visitors are reminded that entry to the ward is being restricted while infection control remains a priority.”
Influenza A cases on ward 6D were first reported on Friday.