Health is the key issue as we head to the polls

30 Apr 2021



Health is the number one issue in this election for a good reason.

Our mental health service is in crisis.

Our alcohol and drug services are on the verge of collapse.

Our acute care hospitals are bulging at the seams with growing demand, and our waiting lists are blowing out.

Our staff are being stretched to the limit dealing with the growing number of patients.

Our health system is at breaking point.

Doctors in general practice, in emergency departments, on medical wards and in surgery are stressed, exhausted and losing patience.

Our 2021 State Election Platform sets out what AMA Tasmania believes needs to be done to the Tasmanian health system to address these issues now and into the future.

We have judged the three party’s election platforms against 15 key AMA solutions.

Not one of the traditional parties has adopted the AMA answer of investing $400 million into IT to build a comprehensive digital hospital of the future that links all parts of the health system together.

Without this major commitment, many of the issues that are breaking the health system today will continue.

Small buckets of funding for a software program here or there will not suffice.

Similarly, not one party will open desperately needed inpatient beds for mental health patients. Meanwhile, around six mental health patients will remain bed blocked in the RHH ED for days on end every day, making their mental health condition worse and the ED environment more stressful for patients and staff.

And not one party has the courage to build a new single hospital for the North West, thus failing to address why we can’t attract and retain medical staff, and some services are failing the community.

Bringing down the elective surgery waiting list will take more than just additional money, which so far has achieved nothing.

Without the theatres, the staff or the beds, elective surgery cannot happen and yet not one party has agreed to look at how we can ensure surgery teams and beds are available whenever needed for an emergency, without compromising patients awaiting elective surgery.

While Labor and Greens will address elective surgery needs in the coming years in the south by providing day surgery at the Repat, there are no solutions for now or for the rest of the state.

On the positive side, all parties are united on climate change and the need to consult with doctors on the LGH master plan. With the Liberals recognising that essential equipment investment is needed both now and into the future.

Some of our priorities are partly delivered through various other initiatives. We will work with whoever is elected on Saturday to bring their policies and ours into closer alignment to achieve the best outcomes.

Health is the best investment that any government can make.

The time is now to stop the piecemeal approach, make a solid plan and look to the future. >>>ENDS

Published: 30 Apr 2021