Health budget cuts in Tasmania have adversely affected patient outcomes and contributed to significant workforce retention and morale issues, a damning parliamentary committee report has found.
The inquiry’s interim findings said the state’s ability to attract and retain a quality workforce was at risk in both the public and private health systems.
Elective surgery volumes have dramatically decreased and ward closures have increased the incidence of bed blockages within the major hospitals.
The Legislative Council sub-committee report said the government’s budget cuts were unsustainable and there was an alarming lack of documentation and strategic direction from the government.
“The government does not currently have a sustainable funding model in place for the provision of public health services in Tasmania,” the report said.
Ruth Forrest, who chairs the sub-committee, said that while cost cuts might have delivered short-term savings, the long-term costs were likely to be much higher.
Forrest said the work of the sub-committee had been hindered by the Minister for Health, Michelle O’Byrne, who had refused to participate in the inquiry process. “The sub-committee has found the minister is either unwilling or unable to account for her actions as the responsible minister,” Forrest said.
The committee said O’Byrne’s lack of co-operation demonstrated a “failure of responsible government”.
The inquiry has called for an urgent independent assessment of the Health Department’s cost-saving strategies. The inquiry will conclude its investigations by the end of the year.Do you have an idea for a story?
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