The Hodgman Liberal Government is fixing Tasmania’s broken health system.

Today, I am very pleased to announce we are taking steps to ease pressure in the Launceston General Hospital’s Emergency Department.

While patient numbers presenting to the LGH have remained consistent with previous years, the number of patients requiring admission have increased. As a result this has put pressure on the ED.

I can outline measures are being taken as part of a new Launceston General Hospital Support Plan.

The Support Plan will include reopening 12 beds in 4D Ward later this month until December to enable the hospital to introduce new patient flow initiatives.

After December, that space will be required for the redevelopment of the Allied Health Department.

There will also be the recruitment of additional 9.58 FTE permanent nursing staff.  Initially, these additional nurses will staff the reopened beds in 4D and then will boost the number of permanent nursing staff in the Hospital’s Nursing Pool.  This is designed to reduce the number of staff working double shifts and result in less overtime.

Other strategies as a part of the Support Plan include:

– the creation of a hospital wide patient flow unit, with expanded hours of operation;

– the engagement of a patient flow expert to facilitate the change agenda;

– the implementation of a new model for general medicine in which patients are cared for by multi-disciplinary teams; and

– using under-utilised beds in our rural and regional hospitals, especially for patients not requiring acute care, allowing more acute and emergency patients to access care.

The past few months have been challenging for the LGH around patient flow, and I wish to thank management and staff for the excellent and professional way they have handled the additional pressure.

Today, I met with emergency department consultants at the LGH to discuss our options and to provide support for the changes that are needed.

There is now a plan to reduce bed block, reduce ambulance ramping and better provide for our patients.

The Support Plan will commence on 28 September 2015.

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