The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, condemned the Federal Government for refusing to continue funding the seven psychiatric emergency nurse positions at the Royal Hobart Hospital and called on the Tasmanian Government to step up and fund the positions itself.
Mr Wilkie has now received official confirmation from the Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, that the seven PEN positions at the Royal Hobart Hospital will not be funded beyond 30 June this year.
“It’s very disappointing that the Federal Government won’t continue funding these essential positions at the Royal beyond 30 June this year,” Mr Wilkie said.
“These are highly-trained medical professionals who provide an invaluable service at the Royal. They improve quality of patient care and help ensure the Emergency Department capability is not further diminished.
“Now that Canberra has formally ruled out continued funding, the onus is on the Tasmanian Government to safeguard staffing levels at the Royal and ultimately it is their responsibility to ensure these positions remain.
“It’s very disappointing that Canberra either doesn’t care about, or understand, the Tasmanian health system. But now that the Minister has made up her mind, it’s time for the State Government to step up.
“The PEN nurses should be seen as part of the baseline funding for the Royal, and not as some sort of additional supplement that can come and go as the political mood changes.”
A copy of Mr Wilkie’s letter and the Minister’s reply is attached.