Today’s Access Solutions Meeting has been a productive workshop to identify real solutions to increased demand in health while we build the spaces we need for more beds.

This has been an important opportunity for us all to come together and establish a shared understanding of the challenges we are facing and what we can collectively do to address them.

Over the past decade, demand on Tasmania’s hospitals has continued to grow, not just in the number of patients, but we are also seeing an increase in the complexity of patients presenting to our hospitals.

Significant financial resourcing has been invested to meet this growing demand, with increasing numbers of inpatient beds around Tasmania, and growth in the medical specialist and nursing staff numbers in our Emergency Departments and across our hospital system.

However, growth in the demand and complexity of patients has outstripped these investments, and we must find new, smarter ways to address this.

Noting these efforts, I confirmed in my opening remarks this morning that we will be supporting commissioning of new space of the Royal Hobart Hospital following the completion of the redevelopment, with a $40 million allocation included in the State Budget, comprising $30 million available from 1 July this year, and a further $10 million the following financial year, specifically for emergency care and bed access.

The Access Solutions Meeting has been a wonderful team effort, bringing together the right minds from around Australia to identify the best way forward.

Now it is time to get on with the job and the Department of Health will be working with ACEM over the coming days to finalise actions that we will implement.

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