A Launceston General Hospital nurse who worked at the weekend said staff did the best they could, under difficult circumstances.
Nurses stood united outside the LGH emergency department on Tuesday, as unions renewed calls for the state government to urgently review the hospital's escalation policy.
It comes after staff requests to implement a code yellow - an internal emergency - at the hospital on Saturday night were reportedly ignored by senior management.
LGH nurse Madeleine Dunn said staff, including paramedics, had worked hard under tough conditions.
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"We just aim to keep all of our patients safe and considering the circumstances, it was hard," she said.
"There weren't many breaks that were taken. We did push through.
"We got everyone seen who needed to be seen and we managed to keep the department as safe as we could, under the circumstances. But it was tough."
The LGH spent 70 per cent of time between June 2018 and January 2019 at level three of its three-level escalation protocol.
Tasmania's Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and Health and Community Services Union have called for a fourth escalation level to be implemented at the LGH - something that was introduced to the Royal Hobart Hospital in 2017.
Australian Medical Association Tasmanian member and Launceston GP Dr Glenn Richardson said more needed to be done to address demand at the LGH, with patients "being left in the ED for days".
"Over the weekend and into Monday morning, 12 patients had been in the ED longer than 24 hours compared to one at the Royal Hobart Hospital," he said.
"Four of those people have been stuck in the ED for over two days.
"While there has been a much-needed spotlight in recent times on the RHH's bed block problems, there has not been enough focus on the LGH."
Labor health spokeswoman Michelle O'Byrne said if the government refused to respond to calls to increase escalations, it would be committing the hospital, its staff and patients to a "frightening future".
"The fact that the hospital administration, in line with the minister's office clearly, did not allow that escalation to be implemented, shows that we have a significant crisis in our hospital," she said.
"We obviously need to review and make sure our escalation processes are working to respond to demand.
"But most importantly we have a hospital system in crisis that needs more funding and a minister who is prepared to say - 'we have got things wrong and we're going to fix them'."
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said the government was committed to doing whatever it could to meet community needs, including the $87 million LGH redevelopment.
"The Department of Health and the THS are regularly considering these processes and procedures to ensure that their effectiveness is maximised, but local hospital management and clinicians are empowered and in the best position to make decisions regarding the needs of staff and patients," she said.
Ms Courtney said the government had recruited over 400 additional FTE of health staff for the LGH since 2014 - a 23 per cent increase - including almost 240 FTE of nurses and 45 FTE more doctors.
Premier Will Hodgman said the government was increasing resources in response to demand, but said hospital protocols were an operational matter, not a political one.
"It's appropriate for our health professionals to make the calls about what's necessary in an operational sense to keep our hospitals safe for patients and staff, and we trust them to do that," he said.