Health Minister Sarah Courtney has reaffirmed her commitment to implement all recommendations from a report into the North West Regional Hospital COVID-19 outbreak but did not guarantee there would not be future outbreaks in Tasmania.
The report, released on Thursday, made a number of recommendations surrounding infection control practices, workplace activities and reducing the movement of staff and patients between facilities.
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Ms Courtney said the state would do anything it could to minimise the risk of future outbreaks.
"I don't have a crystal ball but as the health minister I can assure our staff, our patients and our community that I will support implementation of any measure that minimises risk within our hospital settings," Ms Courtney said.
"We know that hospitals are a high-risk setting."
Ms Courtney said the recommendations in the report which were first being rolled out in the North-West would be applied to the whole health system.
"We want to make sure no matter where you are delivering care around Tasmania that you have PPE but you also feel confident to be able to use it in the appropriate way," she said.
"We need to make sure that we implement the recommendations that allow us to respond to cases of coronavirus quickly and we need to make sure the broader preparedness of our health system continues."
She acknowledged the state's health system has faced challenges but said over recent years the government had invested significantly more money into the sector.
"That's why we've invested a record $8.1 billion over four years and an additional $600 million earlier this year to meet these demands on our hospitals," Ms Courtney said.
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"We've seen thousands more nurses and doctors employed over the past five years and additional beds across out health system.
"In terms of preparedness for a pandemic, we already had plans in place for these types of outbreaks, however as we know from what we've seen on our television screens from Italy, New York and Spain this is an incredibly infectious disease that has taken the world by surprise.
"I'm very proud of the preparations we have done."
How to implement a recommendation that staff do not work across multiple facilities was an operational matter for the Department of Health secretary, Ms Courtney said.
"We know across the North-West that is is a challenge because we have a lot of staff who work across different sites of the public system, the private system and also aged care," Ms Courtney said.
"We have good relationships with our private hospital sites as well so I am confident we can find ways to do that."
Ms Courtney said changes to workplace activities, such as handovers, would require new processes, cultural changes, the reconfiguration of some settings and roster changes.
"Healthcare settings have historically focused on a close handover with other clinicians so there are a lot of work process which are ingrained within our health system and health systems around the world," she said.
She said the government remained committed to strengthening local leadership within the health sector.
"Local management are empowered to make operational decisions at the hospitals," she said.
"This is why I announced the new health system governance arrangements earlier this year and, while part of this transitional work has been interrupted by COVID-19, the new system governance is designed specifically to better support local management, strengthen lines of accountability even further, and provide more clarity for those working on the frontline within our health system."
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