HACSU's Tim Jacobson calls for all sides of government to release further health policies

HACSU secretary and senior Labor Party member Tim Jacobson says all sides of government need to spell out their health policies as hospitals continue to struggle under patient demand. 

On Monday, Health and Community Services Union state secretary Mr Jacobson said with a state election due in March, neither side of government was addressing the issue in terms of policy.

The call came after stakeholders came together on Sunday to release their own health policy, which included 200 additional beds for Tasmania’s public hospitals.

Mr Jacobson said it was “really a question about government priorities”. 

“This is not about politics, this is about having good policies and dealing with the fundamental issues we’ve got out there at the moment, that is that people are struggling to get appropriate care,” he said. 

“We think that both sides of government should develop their policies around these things. 

“Announcements are one thing and we know that governments and oppositions make announcements, but what we want to see from both parties is a comprehensive policy around health.” 

Opposition Leader Rebecca White said the party was working with health stakeholders, patients and staff to develop policies to take to the election.

“There is no doubt that nobody has got it right yet and that’s why we still have challenges in the health system,” Ms White said.

“I’m not going to say that we’ve got all of the answers and that’s why we’re working very closely with all of the key stakeholders and the staff and patients to understand how we can fix the problems in the health system.” 

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said it was time Labor was held to account. 

“Labor has no solutions when it comes to health,” Mr Ferguson said. 

“We know there's a lot more to do, which is why we have set bold targets for our next term, including to ensure all emergency department patients are in and out of the ER within four hours.

“Between now and the election, we'll be outlining further measures to help achieve our bold health goals.” 

The health paper also called for additional staff to be hired in hospitals immediately, for building works to start at the Launceston General Hospital, and for staff to be recruited in numbers proportionate to their workloads. 

“Short and long-term strategies need urgent development with continued attention to implementing these in order to support the Tasmanian health system to meet future demand,” it said. 

The paper said the Tasmanian government should use its GST allocation to address the current “failures of policy and administration”. 

This story Health concerns continue first appeared on The Advocate.