The Coroner is investigating the death of a patient in the Royal Hobart Hospital on Thursday night who, the health union claims, died while waiting in the hospital's emergency department for seven hours.
The matter is also subject to an internal investigation and details of the cause of the man's death are yet to be determined.
In a message sent to hospital staff, executive director operations south Susan Gannon described the incident as "an extremely difficult time" for the hospital, and the emergency department staff in particular.
The email also acknowledged "demand pressures we are currently experiencing" and staff were thanked for their dedication, professionalism and commitment.
A Tasmanian Health Service spokesperson said the matter was being investigated by the Coroner and was subject to an internal investigation, and it could not comment on individual cases.
"The THS is unable to confirm these reports, and is not able to comment on individual patients," he said.
"In all instances, patients in the emergency department are treated under standard triage protocols whereby patients in most urgent need of care are prioritised.
"The Tasmanian Health Service extends its sincere sympathies to the patient's family and loved ones."
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Health and Community Services Union Tasmania assistant secretary Robbie Moore said the wait times in the RHH emergency department were a recurring issue caused by bed shortages.
"Beds is the crucial issue. It's the lack of beds in the hospital that means people are either being ramped when they come in by ambulance, or are having to wait way too long in the emergency waiting bay," he said.
"Staff are telling us they're so worn out, so stretched, short-staffed, and they can't get more staff on because of the environment."
Mr Moore said the union would wait for the outcome of the inquiries before commenting on the specific incident.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said he could not comment on individual patients.
Call for more health funding in upcoming state budget
Labor health spokesperson Sarah Lovell says the upcoming state budget should be seen as an opportunity to increase funding to hospitals and the wider health system in Tasmania.
The state government revised down its forecast surplus from $161.9 million to $7.3 million in January in order to provide more funding to the under-pressure health system.
A Legislative Council inquiry into acute health services also found the government was adding about $100 million to the health system post-budget each year, after underestimating the amount of funding needed.
Ms Lovell said bed shortages was a symptom of a lack of forward planning.
"The issue with ambulance ramping is down to a lack of beds. It's not to do with unnecessary presentations to the emergency department... it comes down to the fact there are not enough beds," she said.
"The bottom line is that the state government is receiving money that should be going to health. We have $100 million, and we don't know where it's going."