Health is a key priority of the Hodgman Liberal Government, which is why we are redeveloping the Royal Hobart Hospital which will increase bed capacity by 250 beds.

This is an important part of our long term Plan to ensure all Tasmanians get the health services they deserve. But we also recognise there are very real demands on the hospital being faced right now.

That is why we are announcing 27 new beds to open over the next two months across three locations in the South.

This is a 6 per cent increase in beds, which will free up space for Emergency Department patients, allowing hundreds of extra people to receive care this year.

While major building works continue on the $689 million RHH Redevelopment, we have listened to staff concerns and recognise growing demand needs to be addressed now.

In 2016 almost 3300 additional people came through the doors of the RHH Emergency Department compared to the year before, and this upward trend is continuing.

Today’s announcement of 27 extra beds is the next stage of our Patients First initiative and is designed to further improve patient flow and ease pressure on emergency department waiting times.

It is the result of working closely the THS executive team as well as effective engagement with our medical, nursing and allied health professional staff.

This package includes:

– 2 new Intensive Care Unit beds at the RHH;
– 10 beds at the Roy Fagan Centre for the elderly with dementia and psycho-geriatric conditions;
– 7 beds at New Norfolk District Hospital for sub-acute and step down patients; and
– 8 beds at the Hobart Private Hospital.

One of the ICU beds will be dedicated to supporting cardiothoracic surgery patients – to help reduce waiting times and cancellations for critical heart surgery.

A further eight beds will open at the Hobart Private Hospital next month, for 12-months, to ease immediate pressure and as redevelopment works continue at the RHH.

The new beds will allow patients to be treated in the facility best suited to care for them.
Recruitment for additional health professionals will begin straight away.

The cost of these measures for the remainder of the financial year is expected to be $2.6 million.
Ongoing funding for these measures will be considered as part of the preparation of the upcoming budget and the Government will continue to consult closely with doctors and nurses during this time to assess all options to improve patient care.

There’s no denying that we have seen increasing demand on our Emergency Department and our whole hospital, and I thank the hard working staff at the RHH for their exceptional professionalism and dedication to our patients as we have worked through this challenging task during a major redevelopment.

We are building Tasmania’s future and the opening of 27 additional beds is part of our commitment to deliver a better health system for everyone.

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