Tasmania's new Health Minister Sarah Courtney was confronted by a patient "infuriated" with a system in crisis on Friday, when a media appearance at Launceston General Hospital was interrupted.
In what was her first public appearance since being sworn in as Health Minister on Tuesday, Devonport man Malcolm Milner used the opportunity to ask Ms Courtney why the government had divested $1.6 billion in GST federal funding away from the health sector.
The claims were made by Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie on Wednesday and later declared true by an Australian Associated Press FactCheck.
Mr Milner, whose wife was at the LGH for surgery, asked Ms Courtney when she was going to replace the money and fix the state's broken health system.
"You say you are providing increased funding, but the health system is in dire straits. Why don't you put the money into it? It's rubbish at the moment," he said.
"I had an operation and I was cancelled three times ... for the simple reason that there were no beds at Launceston General Hospital. It's infuriating."
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Ms Courtney said the government had increased the overall proportion of the health budget, but said she would not comment specifically on Mr Wilkie's claims.
"At a state government perspective, we are actually putting more into health every single year," she said.
It was the second time Ms Courtney had visited the LGH this week and followed a similar tour at the Royal Hobart Hospital on Wednesday.
Ms Courtney said she had been using her time since taking on the Health portfolio to engage with the state's key health stakeholders.
"With regards to this week, I was sworn in on Tuesday. In that time I have spent well over 24 hours directly in hospitals, speaking directly with staff," she said.
"So my key priority this week has been engaging with health professionals."
Since the cabinet reshuffle Ms Courtney has faced mounting pressure to restore access to termination services in the public health system, with portfolios for both Health and Women now under her control.
The state hasn't had a low-cost provider of abortion services for more than a year, after the previous provider withdrew from Tasmania due to a lack of demand.
Ms Courtney said there was a provision of services available in Tasmania, but she was looking forward to having more conversations with stakeholders.
"It is important to recognise that we do have provision of low cost services for termination in Tasmania now," she said.
"I think it's best first to engage with the stakeholders to understand what is happening now more fully, to be able to understand the needs of Tasmanians.
"It is also important to remember that women's health is a really broad spectrum of services.
"So I am very minded to make sure provision of services to women and the support provided in vulnerable times, that they do have full access to a suite of services."
Ms Courtney said her priorities were to ensure staff within the health system felt supported, acknowledging the unprecedented demand facing the state.
"I see how that increased demand in the front door is felt throughout the entire system," she said.
"I have seen those pressures, I have spoken to people honestly and openly about those aspects, and I am looking forward to working with the really dedicated men and women we have within the system to get better outcomes."