Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


How to fix our hospitals

First published September 11

Key Tasmanian health groups have released a detailed set of policy recommendations against which all parties’ pre-election hospitals policies can be judged.

The document outlines a pathway to turn around the state’s ailing public hospital system over the next term of government and begin the task of ensuring Tasmanians have hospital care that is at least equal to that enjoyed by all other Australians.

The policy has been endorsed by the Royal Hobart Hospital Medical Staff Association, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Health and Community Services Union, the Community and Public Sector Union and the Tasmanian Patient Group.

“On almost all measures, Tasmania has the worst public hospital system in the country,” the paper says.

“It will take longer than a single parliamentary term to bring this state’s services up to the standard enjoyed by other Australians but this paper presents a way to begin that process.

“For many years, staffing and other resources have been run down, failing comprehensively to meet sharply rising demand. Given the generous funding allocated to the Tasmanian government through the GST in recognition of the health needs of our population, there is no excuse for these failures of policy and administration. Short and long term strategies need urgent development with continued attention to implementing these in order to support the Tasmanian health system to meet future demand.

“This paper calls for at least 200 extra beds, 80% of them acute, to be established in Tasmania’s public hospitals over the next term of government.

Most of these beds should be established in the Royal Hobart and Launceston General Hospitals. Because of rising demand, and the massive current backlog, this will be only the beginning. By 2022 a similar number of new beds is likely to be needed, on top of the 200, to allow Tasmanian hospitals to deliver the standard and level of care this state’s people need and deserves.

“This will mean additional staff at all levels, from doctors, nurses and allied health personnel through to ancillary staff such as clerks, IT specialists, cooks and cleaners. The notional divide between frontline and non-frontline staff is misleading and damaging: all are needed in a properly functioning hospital system.

“Recruitment is currently a major challenge: Tasmania is known to have an unsatisfactory public hospital system and is not seen as an attractive place to work. The only way of reversing that perception is to improve resources and to address decisively the seriously poor working conditions hospital staff now face.

“Much more physical space will be needed in Hobart and Launceston. Planning should begin now for new building at the Launceston General Hospital; and it must be realised that within five or six years, the rebuilt Royal Hobart Hospital will be full. Planning for another stage of rebuilding that hospital should begin soon.

“Much more attention should be given to hospital avoidance programs and out-of-hospital services, including disease prevention, population health and community-based primary care and mental health services, which are also inadequately resourced for the task they face. It is acknowledged that unless significant, strategically targeted work is undertaken in this area, avoidable demand will continue in the acute health sector.”

Download joint health policy …


*Martyn Goddard is an Independent health policy analyst

ABC: Culture of blame and bullying in Royal Hobart Hospital management, inquiry told

ABC: Tasmanian healthcare stakeholders pitch own plan to fix ailing system

Advocate: Public hospital policy reform paper recommends state health overhaul

Rosalie Woodruff, Greens’ Health spokesperson: Public Health Reform Desperately Needed Under Liberals

Martyn Goddard, Mercury: Public hospital management shake-up required to lift standards in Tasmanian facilities

Examiner: Launceston general hospital staff need more support

Examiner: HACSU’s Tim Jacobson calls for all sides of government to release further health policies

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Russell

    September 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Re #21
    If you can’t/refuse to learn/understand anything Trevor, go away. …

  2. Simon Warriner

    September 22, 2017 at 12:54 am

    re #19, never been a worker injured by your employers scrimping on basic safety have you Trevor?

    If you had you would not say that.

    Workers compensation is there to compensate injured workers. Yes some will try and rort the system, but before you go postal on humble wage earners, just remember all those pollies who have had to repay rorted expenses. Bronwyn springs to mind.

  3. TGC

    September 22, 2017 at 12:14 am

    But, naturally-no pun intended- #20 misses the point being made at #19 -whilst there’s a ‘feather bed’a ‘comfort blanket’ the inclination is to use ’em.
    Take ’em away- and #20 may then have a point.

  4. Russell

    September 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Re #19
    There’s a very true and fitting saying Trevor, “prevention is better than cure.”

    And cheaper.

    If you want to prevent sickness, eat properly nutritonal foods, which means not eating most of the ‘foods’ you buy in supermarkets or any highly processed and fast food shops.

  5. TGC

    September 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    “How to fix our hospitals”
    Money! Much more money! Very much more money! And as more money is poured into our hospitals- and the health system generally- the ‘sicker’ people will get.
    A bit like ‘workers’ compensation- if it’s there- there will be accidents.

  6. Russell

    September 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Re #17
    We are being ripped off at every turn and sheep-brained parents are dumbly going along with it. For example:

    Why are parents being forced to buy a new MAC or Windows computer (depending on who wins the supply contract) for each of their school children every year or two?

    Why can’t the younger child inherit the older ones’ with all the curriculum programs already purchased and installed?

    How many computers do you need in one house!!???

    Better still, why aren’t the computers being supplied by the schools?

    The school administrations say that “they’ll need them at home for doing their homework”, but in the two years I had anything to do with the system NOT ONE bit of homework was EVER done on computers!

    All the little mongrels use them for is playing games both at every recess while at school, and under the bed covers half the bloody night when they’re at home! Most computers also ended up with smashed screens, so the replacement/repair industry was making a killing also. Computers and mobiles these days are engineered to break easily.

    No wonder we’ve got a population of sheep-brained half-wits bleating “we haven’t got enough money”!

  7. Tony Stone

    September 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    That’s right Russell, take out the trash and we would have a secure, cheap, decently functioning hospital system.

    We could do that with every aspect of governance, putting all online. We could run the hospital and government on linux, design our own systems, making them completely secure and in house.

    Don’t know the figures, but do know the iT cost of the health system is horrendous. Building a governance system using the most secure 21st century computing systems available, we would save millions each year in support costs.

    Do that with every aspect of governance and we would be looking at hundreds of millions in savings and have an unhackable safe secure system, that we own and control, Not some overseas corporation that can access your data any time it wants and charges a fortune for its last century junk systems.

  8. Russell

    September 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Re #15
    That sounds like a good idea to me, Tony.

    Cut out the bludging welfare-dependant political middlemen/women and half if not all the bureaucracy, saving us an absolute fortune, while getting what the citizens actually want done.

    I’ve always believed that all policy decisions should be voted on by the public and with the internet we could set that up so easily.

  9. Tony Stone

    September 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    10#, there are some special interest clubs who operate on line, decide direction policy and vote for everything they do online.

    They use a forum style setup and only registered members have access to some area’s, where internal club discussions, policy and voting are carried out.

    To bring this type of operation to the Tasmanian voting public, would be very easy and done the right way, would easily put the operation of the state directly into the hands of the people.

    No need for politicians, senior bureaucrats or any expensive useless ideological psychopaths running things.

    People could discuss and vote on the approach to health and how it would be implemented in schools and the general society. It would be the same for all aspects of our society, saving us billions each year and getting outcomes the people want and can live with.

    With health, the idea of centralised hospitals, is bizarre unworkable and incredibly expensive. What we need is small regional well equipped health centers that help people get their health together and to treat traumatic and genetic illness.

    It’s much more cost effective to move surgeons and specialists moved around the state, rather than patients. Lots of patients deteriorate because they are transported long distances and then have to wait for treatment in many cases.

    Much better to have top of the line health facilities strategically spread round the state, so people don’t have to travel hundred of klms just to get an xray, MRI or see a specialist and they are close to family and friends.

    When you look at it, the medical professions track record is not very good, but their profit growth is exceptional.

    There is no reason to pay these people such obscene amounts of money to fix people health, yet provide no guarantee or accountability if they stuff up,

    When lots of other specialists workers in society have to guarantee their work and get millions less in return.

    Why should useless bureaucrats get paid 20 times more for doing nothing but slow things up and waste money and resources. When someone who attends an accident and actually saves someone, gets a pittance

    This is one of the reasons our society is so fractured, we end up paying the worst most useless the most, yet those who actually contribute to societies health, much less.

  10. Simon Warriner

    September 13, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    re 13, and others,

    Ain’t neo liberalism lessez faire economics grand.
    Our economic health is measured by activity, not benefit, and it is a massive negative for our physical health from many perspectives.

    Now, where might we find a parliament that could see that and be prepared to act to fix it?

  11. Russell

    September 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Re #4
    Exactly Tony. The best medicine is prevention.

    Do GPs ever practice this type of medicine? Not often. In fact I understand it has been taken out of the curriculum for Nursing.

    We will still need a better health system and facilities for the current generation of ill people, but the best medicine is good nutrition and the fast-food Industry has a lot to answer for here.

    Why are GPs failing their patients? The drug Industry has them by the short and curlies. Today’s GPs are no more than drug salespersons.

    On the ABC’s currently showing “The Obesity Myth” the doctors are blaming people’s obesity on a “newly discovered obesity gene”. What a crock of shit!

    These doctors are getting filthy rich on this epidemic and putting people on low or no carb diets and the like to wake up the “ketones” in their bodies. Or they’re referring them to shrinks, prescribing them hunger-suppressing drugs, or as a last ditch effort resorting to surgically removing most of their stomachs!

    If you watch the program, all the 200Kg+ patients are failing for one common reason. They can’t stop eating, but they’re eating SHIT! Shit which is overbrimming with the poison sugar, fat or ultra-processed ‘food’ which no longer has any nutritional value. They all cheat their diets, or their no-so-thin partners and families fail them by serving them rubbish or insisting that one mega-binge a week or month won’t hurt.

    Ultimately, people need to be re-educated in proper nutrition, starting at birth and even before. Another good example is if you want to reduce stillbirths caused by the placenta dying prematurely, then eat properly for yourself and the unborn during pregnancy. The placenta is only dying because it has been starved of proper nutrition.

    There’s a lot of money to be made out of having and maintaining a sick population and all the current players in the ‘health’ Industry know it.

  12. Poppy Lopatniuk

    September 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Bring back strict regulation of the dubious chemicals found in everyday items which have been deemed acceptable by the greed for profits of large conglomerates.
    Ongoing Government funding to look for the CAUSE of all cancers and other increasing diseases.

  13. PHilip Lowe

    September 11, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    How to fix your hospitals?Same as in most of the Western World.Get everybody to do their best to look after their own health.That does not include staring at a poker machine, eating fast fried food,nipping out for a ciggie every thirty minutes and continually topping up the alcohol level.It does include trying to walk everywhere,eating decent sensible food and avoiding addictions.Get on with it,with or without the example of your politicians.

  14. TGC

    September 11, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    #8 “…take the running of our society out of their hands and put it into the hands of the people, online.” An interesting suggestion Could #8 follow it up with a plan of how this could be established in a securely workable way.?

  15. Chris

    September 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm

  16. Tony Stone

    September 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    #6 “How do we get a collaborative, considered approach to the health problem? Not by using party politicians for the job, if history is any guide.”

    In my opinion, there is no possibility of changing our health system until we get rid of the corrupt party/corporate/senior bureaucratic alliance.

    Between the 3 of them, it’s all about profits not good health and the only logical practical and sensible solution is to take the running of our society out of their hands and put it into the hands of the people, online.

    One only has to read the posts on most forums reflecting citizens viewpoints, to see the average person has more brains, understanding and logical approach to life, than the entire political corporate and bureaucratic conglomerate put together.

    Good health comes from good life styles and diet, there is nothing else that can contribute effectively. Preventative health regimes should be taught from the first day in school and continue through out school years.

    Unless we teach the young the right way to live, our health budget will continue to rise and rise and rise. With the outcome becoming worse and worse, every day.

    As it is, more than 90% of health issues are all lifestyle and that means those health issues that do actual require medical intervention, or correction, do not get the amount of research attention as does lifestyle illness.

    I put this down to the demand for profit growth within the pharmacological, medical and surgical industries, whose only aim is profit and nothing else.

  17. TGC

    September 11, 2017 at 10:30 am

    #4 is generally correct – it is clearly not possible to be doubling the capacity of our hospitals to treat the expanding demands every few years.

  18. Simon Warriner

    September 10, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Yet another problem that will never be fixed by the party political thinking that keeps it rolling along.

    It needs a collaborative, considered approach from the political representatives that denies the bureaucrats the opportunity to play the parties off against each other, and threaten to release skeletons from closets.

    Until that collaborative, considered approach tot he health problem is delivered by our political representatives we are, to put it bluntly, pissing into the wind.

    How do we get a collaborative, considered approach to the health problem? Not by using party politicians for the job, if history is any guide.

  19. Kelvin Jones

    September 10, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    #4 Tony… It does seem to me that you are on the most practical track for restoring a healthy medical system. You can pump any amount of money into health and it will always be able to absorb more. I would estimate that 50% of today’s health budget is spent managing diseases from modern day living. Worse, many people expect to live a health risk lifestyle and receive medical treatment to counter this life threatening excess in life.

    What encourages people to adopt unhealthy lifestyles is perhaps a question worth further investigation. I suspect many so called upright corporate citizens’ healthy profits rely on unhealthy customers. The Government included.

  20. Tony Stone

    September 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Won’t work, just more of the same, throw money at it and hope it works. There is only one way to tackle the hospital and medical epidemic, that’s preventive and remedial medicine, not symptomatic cover up and hope.

    Remove the cause of medical and surgical problems and you create a decent health system. Anything else is just throwing good money at a situation which can’t solved, until there are dramatic changes in the approach to good health.

    That’s prevention and nothing else will work. Especially as it’s lifestyle and diet which is creating our health crisis and yet everyone has their heads in the sand and deep in denial.

  21. Chris

    September 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Rundle the previous employee of Edmund sold the Bundle of beds that was part of the Royal and therefore followed the Lieberal policy which dictated “privatise profit”!
    Will Wee Willy do something or stand in a Ferguson video shot and do nothing and give us assurances which he does not intend to fulfil as it opposes Gutwhiners budget cuts that helped us to get there in the first place.
    Depressing balance.

  22. Kevin Moylan

    September 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Tasmania’s public health system is imploding; no surprise to me. In 1995 as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, I (involuntarily) ‘blew the whistle’ on NW coast and Burnie Hospital mental health services. My twenty year ethical career, ended that day. Mongrels.

    ABC Friday: Dr Simon Judkins states, “A culture of blame and bullying. The leadership [public servants] seems more interested in censoring the message to control damage.” So what’s new Doc?

    This blame-bullying-thuggery-nepotism-cronyism-incompetence, secrecy, ‘jobs for the boys’ in Club Tasmania has been an incestuous rort for the privileged few for decades. And every-one knows!

    These professional parasites do not care about ‘patients’ and the health of our community, nor do they have the intellect, skills and humane personalities to run hospitals and manage disgruntled and stressed-out staff. Any health professional who ‘informs’ our superiors of ‘breaches of care’ or sexual abuse will be targeted as ‘troublemakers’, set upon, and eventually driven from the workplace by mean stealth and morbid attrition. It’s pathologically sick!

    Beware of The Unrecognised Socialised Sociopath – They will orchestrate your downfall and despair.

    And by all measures, “The worst health system in Australia,” is having trouble recruiting health professionals.

    BE WARNED Mainlanders! Don’t go there, don’t risk it! Outsiders must not ‘rock the boat’ or these highly paid thugs will be let off their chains; and your life as you knew it will never be the same. Then you will be denied, natural justice.

    Why was mental health only mentioned, en passant?
    Why is Minister Ferguson neglecting to advocate for the mentally ill and disabled? THEY have no-one. Wake up Tas-MANIA! This is life and death, serious stuff.

    Good work Dr Judkins, but how do unravel and change a cancerous and ingrained ‘sick’ culture?
    Their circle must never be broken – or we the people might discover what a nepotistic scandal the health system is. I feel better now.

  23. Mark Temby

    September 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I noted Adelaide’s new state of the art hospital opened last week.


    My (limited) understanding of Adelaide is that it has been built to service an extensive region, similar to Tasmania, with direct helicopter access etc. Tasmania continues to have its regional squabbles over its four hospitals. While sympathetic to local employment but tired of local politics, Tasmania has much to resolve before a modern, efficient and effective health system is designed for our future.

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