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Patient Care at the Launceston General Hospital at Risk From $36 Million Funding Cut
TASMANIA’S health unions today warned that patient care at the LGH was at risk from massive health funding and job cuts worth at least $36 million to Tasmanian Health Organisation North alone.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation President Emily Shepherd said the LGH was chaotic at the weekend with an extremely high rate of nurses working double shifts, the Emergency Department full and no beds in the hospital.
“Wards had to open up beds that had been closed due to lack of nursing staff. This in turn resulted in nurses doing extra shifts, double shifts and shift changes at short notice. Nurses are saying that this level of overtime due to lack of staff in the first instance is unsustainable.
“This is not isolated to the LGH. Rural primary health sites also reported double shifts and increased service demand.
“ANMF members are concerned that cuts to so called backline staff will result in increased workloads for nurses, less time at the bed side for patient care and more time with administration.
“The Government’s promise of graduate nurses does not fix the immediate need for skilled nurses and cuts to backline staffing take away support from graduates.
“Increasing elective surgery in this current environment is neither sustainable nor safe.
Community and Public Sector Union General Secretary Tom Lynch said the Launceston community would be hit particularly hard from public sector job cuts, with businesses noticing a decline in sales.
“The public service needs to be the right size to deliver the critical health services Tasmanians are rightly entitled to, not a pre-determined size that Will Hodgman plucks out of thin air to help cover his exorbitant pre-election promises.
Tim Jacobson from the Health and Community Services Union said it was time Will Hodgman and Michael Ferguson were honest about the cuts they were proposing for the Launceston General Hospital.
“The State Government has cynically taken out of the LGH and our health system what the Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton put in. In effect, the announcement of federal funds for our health system was a con.
“The LGH is already struggling from a huge increase in demand and previous cuts. The enormous size of Will Hodgman’s cuts will take the LGH beyond breaking point.