14 May 2024

Review into Tasmania’s major hospital emergency departments releases report

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Hospital building

The Independent Review of Tasmania’s Major Hospital Emergency Departments released its final report on 10 May. Photo: Royal Hobart Hospital.

The findings and recommendations from a review into Tasmania’s hospital emergency departments have been released by the State Government.

The Independent Review of Tasmania’s Major Hospital Emergency Departments was commissioned in September 2023 and, in December, it provided a set of interim recommendations with milestones and completion dates set for the first half of 2024. The final report was published on 10 May.

The review was chaired by Adjunct Professor Deborah Picone, and included Ann Maree Keenan RN GAICD, Professor Tony Walker ASM and Dr Niall Small FACEM.

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The review’s final recommendations build upon the interim recommendations delivered last December. They include:

  • Immediately establishing a Statewide Integrated Operations Command Centre to better manage the flow of patients and resources across the health system.
  • Expansion of the Care@home program, including a model of care to support people with chronic and complex diseases.
  • Introduction of secondary mental health triage officers at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Launceston General Hospital, and North West Regional Hospital.
  • Expansion of the Ambulance Tasmania Community Paramedic program to support increased management of patients in the community.
  • Improved processes to manage demand across the wider hospital system.

“When implemented, the recommendations in this review will improve whole-system access and flow,” Professor Picone wrote in the review’s foreword.

“Health Services will adjust their capacity in real-time to optimise safe care; this is a complicated task that requires situational awareness at both a local and state level to ensure resources and risks are effectively managed.”

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Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing Guy Barnett said the review highlighted the government’s commitment to improving outcomes for patients across the state.

“This is another important marker in our commitment to improving health services across the state,” he said.

“The report outlines a series of recommendations aimed at improving bed usage across the health system, alongside better pathways to primary care alternatives and new solutions to enhance the effectiveness of health care.

“Our government supports the findings, and work is already underway to implement the recommendations.

“I extend my gratitude to the panel, and particularly Professor Deb Picone, for their work throughout this review.

“As a government, we are committed to delivering continuous and ongoing improvement across all areas of our health system to ensure Tasmanians have access to the health care they deserve.

“These measures will help improve patient flow throughout our healthcare system more easily and help us provide better health care and to improve outcomes for all patients.

“I welcome the recommendations and I will work closely with my department to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in full.”

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