The state government needs to stop “patronising” hospital staff in the wake of a spate of assaults in the Launceston General Hospital’s emergency department, Labor says.
Opposition health spokeswoman Sarah Lovell’s comments come after a patient assaulted three staff at the LGH this week.
The assaults prompted calls from the nurses’ union for the government to implement urgent measures to address the “crisis” in the LGH’s emergency department.
All this is occurring against the backdrop of nurses and midwives staging daily silent vigils outside the hospital.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Emily Shepherd has said the union is considering escalating its industrial action at the LGH in the wake of the assaults.
Acting Health Minister Elise Archer said on Friday that it was “deeply concerning when these sorts of assaults and attacks occur”.
“There were a number of incidents [at the LGH] that are currently being reviewed so the [Health] Department can respond accordingly,” she said.
Ms Lovell said the government needed to “listen to the nurses”.
”The best the government could manage … was to congratulate the staff for how they handled the situation,” she said.
“Of course they handled it well – they are professionals.
“They don’t need to be patronised with platitudes about how the situation unfolded; they need to hear what steps the minister is going to take to make their workplace safe.”
Despite calls from the ANMF for increased security at the ED, Ms Lovell said this was not the main issue.
“The underlying problem is that our emergency departments are not operating as they should be,” she said.
“They should be operating as a place people can present to in an emergency, be treated and either admitted to the hospital or [are] able to go home as quickly as possible.”
Ms Lovell said action had to be taken so Tasmanians could have faith they would receive adequate care when they required medical treatment.