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AMA Tasmania welcomes the news of an agreement with Healthscope, which will see the provider continue to operate private health services adjacent to the Royal Hobart Hospital.

President Prof. John Burgess said that the signing of the contract for another twenty years brings stability to Hobart Private, its staff and the services they provide to the Tasmanian people, including for the public hospital system.

“We are pleased that Healthscope has committed to a 24/7 Emergency Department, which should help to alleviate some of the pressures on the RHH ED.”

AIHW Report

AMA Tasmania also welcomes the latest AIHW data for elective surgery and emergency department wait times, which once again shines the light on the unprecedented pressure doctors have been facing with increasing demand particularly on the major hospital’s emergency departments.

“The statistics are unacceptable and shocking, but the story they reveal is not new and does not consider actions taken by the government in discussion with the AMA in recent months.

“We acknowledge there has been a concerted effort from doctors, the AMA and the Government to work together on initiatives to try to lessen bed block in the hospital and improve patient flow.

“Examples of some of these initiatives include the reinstatement of the additional night registrar and more junior doctors in the General Medical units.

“It is not good enough that the Tasmanian health system performs as one of Australia’s worst as is reflected in the Emergency Department and elective surgery waiting times.

“We must do more across the health system, particularly engaging with our General Practitioners who, being at the centre of care for patients, help to keep patients out of hospitals and care for those discharged from hospital back into their community.”

Alcohol reform

AMA Tasmania calls upon the government to intensify its focus on preventative healthcare initiatives in our community, which we know will help to reduce pressure on our hospitals.

“One such area the government should take stronger action, which would reduce presentations to our emergency departments, is in alcohol and drug reform.

“It is time for reforms like volumetric taxes on alcohol or a floor price on alcohol to be introduced in Tasmania.

“There is strong evidence to show that a floor price on alcohol will reduce alcohol-related hospital admissions.

“The Northern Territory has experienced a 24.5% decrease in alcohol-related emergency department presentations since introducing a floor price in 2018. In Canada, it led to an 8.9% drop in hospital admissions.

“We know that 20% or more of patients admitted to Australian hospitals have an alcohol-related health problem which has caused or contributed to the hospital admission.

“A 2011 survey of 180 emergency departments across the nation reported that 28% of all injury presentations were alcohol-related.

“A ‘snapshot’ survey at 2.00 am Saturday 14th December 2013 of emergency departments in 106 Australian and New Zealand hospitals revealed one in seven presentations (14%) were alcohol-related, while in some EDs, more than one-third of presentations were alcohol-related (33%).”

“These sorts of measures to reduce alcohol consumption would make a real difference to demand on our limited hospital services.” >>>ENDS

AMA Tasmania Media contacts:

President Prof John Burgess – 0417 302 803
CEO Lara Giddings - 0400 417 160

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