Launceston needs a functioning hospital. Where patients who rely on it can have confidence in the services available, and where the staff who work within it have the adequate resources to fulfil their duty of care.
And while many people have positive experiences with our healthcare system, too many do not. Instead, issues of bed block and long wait times continue to worsen, all in the face of an ageing population and growing rates of chronic illness.
Launceston General Hospital is Tasmania's second largest hospital and the top referral hospital for the North. But it is operating within a system that's under immense pressure, where the safety of patients is being routinely compromised.
This, according to new research published this week in the International Emergency Nursing journal. The study analysed close to 90,000 presentations made to the ED in 2016 and 2017 and also included real-time observations made by third year nursing students.
The research painted a bleak picture of staff forced to use makeshift spaces during times of crowding, as well as the hidden delays associated with patient triage.
And while the praise for the ability of staff on the ground to cope under immense pressure - in often volatile circumstances - formed a large part of the findings, terms such as "organised chaos" is not how anyone wants their workplace to be described.
The importance of medical research like this is undeniable and steps to address the issues identified must be acted upon as a matter of urgency. After all, the study was informed by those on the ground and provides a rare and in-depth insight into many complex and longstanding issues.
It's the same issues that acted as a catalyst for the formation of a hospital support group made up of concerned community members, more than a decade ago. In 2007 the LGH support group were among the more than 5000 people who rallied in Civic Square after budget cuts resulted in cancelled surgeries and bed shortages.
Now in 2021, the group has reformed in an online capacity, offering a forum on social media for people to share their concerns and their questions.
The state government says it's committed to supporting staff and patients. The newly announced Our Healthcare Future is said to mark the next stage of the state's long-term health reform agenda as we continue to rebuild from COVID-19. There are are also capital improvements for the LGH ED in the 2020-21 budget.
But will it be enough? What's clear is that the band-aid solutions put in place over a decade of differing governments has failed to get to the root of the problems.
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