The sacking of four nurses who refused to be vaccinated has placed pressure on the Launceston General Hospital after several beds were closed following the dismissals.
The Australian Nurses and Midwives' Federation confirmed 38 nurses had received termination letters from the Department of Health for failing to comply with the state's health directive mandating hospital workers provide evidence of vaccination by October 31.
She said the nurses were given seven days from the October 31 deadline to comply with the directive or their employment would be terminated.
She said the decision to fire the nurses would have a significant impact on the LGH's ability to provide care, and the nurses' careers.
"Obviously there's a huge impact on the individuals who have had their employment terminated who are no longer able to work within the health system," she said.
"In terms of the beds, the closures at the moment cause an incredible impact across the health system when every available inpatient bed is highly sought after with significant demand pressures across the LGH."
A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed 38 nurses had been stood down across the state, with the termination process under way, but disputed bed closures in Ward 5B had impacted the LGH's ability to treat patients.
The spokesperson said there was "no net loss of beds", with only four closures, not eight, as a result of the action, with additional beds made available to address the closures on Ward 5B.
Ms Shepherd said although the ANMF supported the health directive, it had previously raised concerns with the government, and suggested the redeployment of unvaccinated health workers could be an alternative to dismissal.
"We very much advocated since the draft direction was announced that redeployment should have been on the table in terms of looking at how these experienced or knowledgeable staff could be used in lower-risk settings," she said.
The Department of Health spokesperson said as the health direction applied to all Department of Health employees, redeployment was not an option.
They said seven new staff had recently been appointed to Ward 5B with their induction to be completed this week with the four beds on Ward 5B to re-open on Monday, November 15.
Labor Health spokeswoman Anita Dow said the closure of any beds would have an impact on the LGH's ability to service the community.
"Of course patients seeking treatment will be adversely impacted by these bed closures," she said.
"Patients are already waiting for unacceptable lengths of time in emergency departments because beds are not available.
"The government's own data released a fortnight ago shows the number of Category 3 ED patients seen on time at the Launceston General Hospital is just 38 per cent. In addition, the elective surgery waiting list remains at 10,776."
The Department of Health spokesperson said the LGH's capacity for elective surgery had not been impacted by the bed closures.
Ms Dow said with the border set to reopen on December 15 and COVID cases expected to rise, the state could not afford to lose any beds or health workers.
"The government knew the potential to terminate staff was coming well before terminations of health staff across the state happened," she said. "They had no contingency around how those staff would be replaced."
Ms Shepherd said the ANMF could not discuss the reason the nurses had refused to be vaccinated but confirmed the organisation would work with members affected by the health order.
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