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


Hospital emergency crisis revealed in leaked document

First published Feb 6

Patients spending more than 24 hours in the Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department have more than doubled in the past year, according to figures leaked to the Tasmanian Times.

The data, prepared within the hospital and circulated to key staff, cover the past six years and show how the emergency department has increasingly struggled under budget cuts by the past two state governments.

The leaked document presents a picture that is even worse than previously thought.

Lives are being lost.

The rolling crises created by the bungling of the hospital’s decanting process during the present rebuilding program are more starkly revealed than ever in these figures.

The number of ambulances ramped for longer than 30 minutes has tripled in the past year, from an average of 6% in 2016 to 18% in 2017.

The figures show how staff are struggling to cope with the massive increases in workload and overcrowding, as patients needing treatment on a specialist ward have to wait on trolley-beds in emergency.

The number of patients needing admission who have to spend less than four hours in emergency – a key national target – has fallen from 19% to 16% in the past year. In 2012, it was 23%.

This is known as bed block.

A key measure of bed block is the time waited by patients needing admission at the 90th percentile mark: if 100 people are waiting, the 90 percentile time refers to the time waited by patient number 90.

In 2017, this went up to 18 hours from 15 the year before. Earlier figures, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, showed that bed block at the Royal Hobart Hospital was the third worst among the 30 major hospitals in Australia.

Research in Australia and overseas, some commissioned by the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, found patients affected by bed block – defined as needing admission being kept in emergency for four hours or more – had an increased risk of death of between 20% and 30%.

Nationally, the Australian researchers found, bed block accounted for more deaths than the road toll.

In Hobart, the new figures reveal that the death toll is likely to be substantially greater at the Royal Hobart Hospital because of the inability of staff and services to cope.

The number of emergency presentations to the hospital has risen from 49,955 in 2012 to 62,806 last year. Until 2017, presentations increased by about 4.5% a year. But over the past year that increase has dropped to only 2.7%.

Staff believe this is because significant numbers of people needing care avoid coming to the hospital because they believe the system will not be able to cope with them adequately, and because they do not want to add to the workload of emergency personnel or to the ongoing chaos in the system.

The figures explained …


EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

Peter Gutwein is wrong on debt. Here are the numbers that prove it

All Martyn Goddard HERE

*Martyn Goddard is a public policy analyst based in Hobart.

Labor Leader: Health Minister must respond to damning new hospital figures



  1. Tony Stone

    February 5, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    There is only one way to fix hospital and health problems, and that through preventative medicine. It’s perfectly clear the drug/cut it out approach is not working in any way.

    Hospitals should by used for traumatic and genetic health problems, lifestyle health problems which make up about 85% of hospital admissions, can be easily solved with proper diet and lifestyle changes.

    Sticking to the current path will not fix anything, just make it worse and worse until the entire system collapses. The problem lies with government and patient stupidity, backed up by the profit growth at any cost, pharmaceutical industry.

  2. TGC

    February 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    But the agony will soon be over- Labor/Greens-likely to be in power- will almost double the spending on health- and education- so waiting lists should not simply be reduced but almost completely eliminated- and with lots of new teachers class sizes should be reduuced also.
    Go Labor- spend! spend! spend! In necessary Borrow! Borrow! Borrow- worse case Tax! Tax! Tax!

  3. Philip Lowe

    February 5, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Tony Stone has hit the nail on the head, bullseye. It is exactly the same situation here in the UK with populist politicians fannying about with sticking plaster solutions. You can go to ANY hospital here and see the people who treat the NHS as a social pastime. Do you have people like that in Tas?

  4. Tony Stone

    February 6, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    #3 Philip … we certainly have many of those here in Tas and throughout Aus, mostly through ignorance and pathetic health education in our schools.

    Too many vested interests involved to make changes from outside government. Try talking to any doctors about good diet nutrition and lifestyle and they look at you as if you are stupid, nor do they have a clue.

    So we are stuck with what we have until we can get rid of the current party political system, then we can make the right changes which will bring good health to all.

    If people still want to live their lives on junk an health debilitating food, they should be made to pay for their own health problems, not those who have no say in bad/genetic health, or traumatic bad health.

  5. Chris

    February 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    How long will it be before someone in the health regime has a look at my knee and checks my one kidney? I am on the waiting list in order to be placed upon the waiting list, but I do not know how many levels of waiting list there are, I LIVE in hope.

  6. Clive Stott

    February 9, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    How come when you go into the Health Minister’s electoral office in Launceston and ask to talk to the minister about a health matter when he is sitting in a room out the back you are told “Health is handled from Hobart”??

    Actually I don’t think Health is handled very well from anywhere at this level.

    The lights are not even on let alone anyone home.

    As a former health worker and former city-branch vice-president of the Tasmanian Young Liberals I have never seen such deliberate under funding of our health system by our treasurer which appears to prop up a massive advertising campaign to get the Liberals re-elected.

    Promises under “we-will-Will” amount to a lot of hot air which in my opinion is made worse by the people out there in the community left to suffer untreated.

    Oh, and don’t forget the Head of Surgery at the LGH who recently left because his job had become unworkable under this Liberal lot, and is going to sue them for millions. We sure lost another very decent and capable specialist; our only vascular surgeon: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5205096/head-of-surgery-and-launcestons-only-vascular-surgeon-leaves-lgh/

    Many people are speaking up saying they can’t even get on a waiting list. This is true.

    And what about the LGH teaching downgrade recently? No mention of that in our glossy election advertising: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4578123/lgh-teaching-downgrade-to-stay/

    Health Minister Michael Ferguson, Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Premier Will Hodgman … hang your heads in shame.

  7. Simon Warriner

    February 9, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    re &, but do they have any shame?

    The conflicted interests they willingly accept as their lot as party politicians would suggest otherwise.

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