Blood on your hands: Wilkie
$100m health blowout
THE state’s health system blew its budget by more than $100 million last year, missed every target it set for elective surgery — and paid its top two bureaucrats half a million dollars each.
Premier Will Hodgman told Parliament yesterday the state’s health system was not performing adequately and the Government accepted responsibility.
Opposition leader Rebecca White appealed to him to reverse budget cuts to health.
“Will you today commit to reversing your Government’s cruel health cuts before more people die?” she asked. A coroner’s inquest heard on Wednesday that 1800 patients who were admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital last financial year spent more than 24 hours in the emergency department.
The Health Department’s annual report revealed it missed every key performance indicator for elective surgery — including leaving at least one Category 1 patient waiting 686 days for surgery that should have been done within 30 days.
Health Minister Sarah Courtney was at a COAG meeting yesterday, but Mr Hodgman said he acknowledged the problem his government was working to improve things.
“We as a government accept that our health system is not performing adequately, and we’ve never said that it is,” he said. “We do accept that with a dramatic increase in demand on our health system in recent years, demands on capacity within our system, significant growth in patient complexity over recent years, there is increased pressure on our health system.
“We accept responsibility for the state of our health system. We accept responsibility for delivering all these things that have happened under this government that are an improvement on our health system, that’s what we are doing.”
Mr Hodgman said the Government had invested heavily in health, hiring 450 additional staff at the Royal Hobart Hospital, including more than 200 nurses and almost 100 doctors, and boosted staff numbers in the emergency department by 34 per cent. Department secretary Michael Pervan’s salary package was worth $498,000 last year, while chief medical officer Anthony Lawler’s was worth $515,000.
Mr Pervan was shifted into Communities Tasmania in August in a reshuffle.
Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie said the situation in the health system was unacceptable.
“It is simply undeniable that Tasmanian hospitals are among the worst performing in the country, and this is resulting in unnecessary deaths and protracted illnesses.
“The blood of every one of the victims is on the State Government’s hands.”