Launceston General Hospital remained at level three of its escalation plan on Wednesday night, after what union members called the “worst 24 hours” in the emergency department this year.
A Tasmania Health Service spokesman said 130 people presented to the emergency department across 24 hours from Tuesday, with 41 bed requests.
“At 4.30pm today [Wednesday] there were 48 patients in the ED, with four patients receiving care in the ED while waiting for transfer to a ward,” the spokesman said.
Australian Nurses and Midwifery Foundation Tasmanian branch secretary Emily Shepherd said at one point up to five category two patients were in the waiting room, with eight ambulances ramped.
“Members have said they have no words to describe the utter chaos that this untenable situation has caused,” she said.
“It defies logic that while the Launceston General Hospital emergency department and the entire public health system is being stretched at all angles, the Tasmanian Government refuses to fund positive and immediately available solutions.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the government was working hard to relieve demand pressures, including the roll out of a $1.5 million ED support package and the implementation of a transit lounge.
“Thank you to our incredibly hardworking staff at the Launceston General Hospital who have been dealing with a busy period in the past 24 hours,” he said.
“We had a very constructive meeting with the ANMF last week, so it is disappointing they are increasing their industrial action.
“I can assure nurses and Tasmanians that as Minister for Health, I take their concerns very seriously.”
The ANMF first launched industrial action in March over concerns of in-patients capacity and bed block at the LGH.