Labor has added to its existing commitment of more than $150 million in funding for the Tasmanian health system by pledging a further $1 million to expand the emergency department at the Launceston General Hospital.
On International Nurses Day, Labor announced that the money would go towards establishing a new fit for purpose waiting and assessment area, which would accommodate seven patients arriving by ambulance who have to wait for a bed in the ED.
The new facility would include safety equipment which Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said would "provide modern and safe standards of care, privacy, dignity and decency for patients waiting to get a bed in the emergency department".
"This election campaign here in Northern Tasmania has been framed completely around health and the health crisis here in Northern Tasmania," Mr Hart said.
"This [funding] will provide modifications to the building to ensure people can be safely decanted in a safe place ... and will have dignity while they're waiting to be admitted to the ED."
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Northern representative Tom Millen, a registered nurse at the LGH, said the funding would help to "alleviate" some of the issues plaguing the hospital.
"It's been a really tough time for my colleagues who work in the emergency department and also for patients who have to come to our emergency department for care over the last 12-24 months," he said.
"Currently, people are forced to be ramped in corridors, in an airlock which is exposed to climatic conditions. So your grandmother could be lying on an ambulance stretcher and every time the door opens, [she's exposed to] the frigid winter temperature.
"[This funding would] enable us to have a more structured, safer workplace and for patients to be able to have a safer, more dignified level of care while they're waiting for a bed in hospital."
Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said it was "disingenuous" for Labor to "think that they can now see the health system [as] better under them".
[This funding would] enable us to have a more structured, safer workplace and for patients to be able to have a safer, more dignified level of care while they're waiting for a bed in hospital.Registered nurse Tom Millen
The Liberals have pledged $92 million to improve healthcare in Tasmania.
"One of the other things that we've done is we've kept the economy strong," Senator Colbeck said.
"When you have a strong economy, you then have the resources to invest in the health system and that's what we've done.
"The ALP has its priorities all wrong. They're investing in an AFL team in Hobart, and [giving] $50 million to MONA. We think they're the wrong priorities."