Over the last week, there has been significant media attention on the issue of ambulance offload delay, or “ramping”, at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Ramping is a long-standing problem we inherited from Labor and the Greens… it affects public hospitals and ambulance services across the country. While some other states have tried to address it, it continues to impact on patient, staff and the community.

While we want to reduce ramping for the benefit of patients and staff, I am concerned that media coverage and public comments may lead to a perception that ramping is due to a lack of ED staff commitment or competence.

This is certainly not true.

I have spent time in emergency departments in each region. I had the privilege of presenting to the emergency medical and nursing conference last month, and am continually impressed by how dedicated and professional this impressive group of people are.

I also know from personal experience how deeply affected and frustrated these staff become at the delays that impact on their patients, which are largely outside their control. What I have also been impressed by in the past has been how Emergency Department and Ambulance Tasmania staff work together to give the best possible care to their patients under difficult circumstances, and know that this cooperative approach continues.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude, and the gratitude of the Liberal Government, to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of the emergency department staff at the Royal Hobart Hospital and each of our other EDs.

The Government is delivering on its commitment to continue to address ramping by reopening transition beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

This means more beds physically located in the Emergency Department, which in turn means ambulance crews are able to get back on the road and into the community.

All of this is supported by the work by Health Services Innovation Tasmania. HIS is already collaborating with our hospitals, in order to map and identify the process and flow issues that impact on patients.

Importantly, we are reforming the health system to deliver a single statewide system that puts the needs of patients back where they belong – at the forefront of every decision. We are cutting the backline and reinvesting the frontline. Coming from a system of failure and neglect, we are delivering the healthcare system Tasmanians not only need, but deserve.

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