Occupational therapists have been engaging in a community campaign to highlight the ongoing and chronic service shortfalls in the north of the state.
Because the Department of Health has failed to recruit and retain suitably qualified workers, patients admitted to the rehabilitation ward cannot access OT services even though they may need them. Current waiting periods in the community are at least 6-9 months, with some people waiting more than 12 months. Some don’t even get seen at all.
Workers have been forced to withdraw services from a number of units and wards in the hospital and limited services are provided elsewhere due to an inability to meet the demand.
Occupational therapists provide an essential service that helps people to regain skills and develop new ones, use materials or equipment that makes life easier, and adapt their environment to work better for them at work, home, and in the community.
Many Tasmanians are able to stay out of hospital or get out of hospital more quickly because of OTs. This saves beds for other patients, reduces caseloads in hospitals and saves our community untold amounts of cost from unnecessary acute care.
We are demanding the government take direct action – and the campaign will continue until we see some real action in addressing a problem that should have never got to the point that it has.
Please sign the petition to support your colleagues and tell the government we need more OTs in Tasmania.
Check out our Facebook page for more details and find out how you can support the campaign.