The Tasmanian Health Service (THS) has proposed that a key support service which underpins the Emergency Department’s access to medical records will cease on all public holidays commencing this Christmas, with the extra work to be completed by Emergency Department staff who will already be facing huge increases in demand for their services over this period.
THS’s insistence that this change, which Emergency Department staff have reported will result in longer queues and further delays in emergency services, is to be implemented during this period and with no additional staffing or assessment of potential risks is unwise and unnecessary.
Staff have expressed particular concern about the potential for frontline staff to be physically absent from the Emergency Department for extended periods of time as a result of this change and that inappropriate staffing will exacerbate service delivery problems. Increased delays in the past have resulted in aggression towards staff and other patients, increasingly the likelihood that under-pressure staff will make avoidable mistakes.
Emergency Department staff are concerned not only that the impact of the change will be exacerbated by the poor timing of the roll out but that the proposal will soon see all public holidays and weekend services impacted going forward as the workers that underpin the Emergency Department’s operations are withdrawn with no further staffing allocated for these times.
THS has advised that it will increasingly rely on digital solutions to lessen the impact of the change and yet has failed to recognise the fact that the Launceston General Hospital is still, in comparison to other Tasmanian hospitals, heavily reliant on staff to physically support its functions.
Concerningly, staff have also reported that the change could see other important work impacted, including flow-on delays in the registering and processing of births in the hospital. HACSU calls on the Government to stop the proposed Christmas roll out and undertake a proper risk assessment to ensure the smooth operation of Emergency services this holiday period.