Here’s your update on Tasmanian public sector and agency issues, the ongoing COVID response and other things relating to broader public sector and union campaigns.
We’re ever hopeful the ongoing issues in Health and Communities are addressed in a way that offers real and lasting solutions, but we’re not naïve enough to think some of those solutions will come without fighting for them.
Last week the Secretary of the Department of Health announced there’ll be additional capacity in hospitals in every region of the state – we knew about some of that, but some are actual increases to capacity that haven’t previously been discussed. The announcements include:
Royal Hobart Hospital:
• Increase to 23 general medical beds on ward 2A
• Additional 24 beds (19 surgical and 5 medical) on ward 6A to form a new trauma and acute surgical unit
• Four additional medical beds for the older persons unit
• Extended 24/7 operation for the 6-bed mental health short stay unit
• Four additional beds for a paediatric short stay unit
Launceston General Hospital:
• A new 28-bed medical ward on ward 3D
• The 23 existing short stay surgical unit beds to be opened 7 days with overnight beds increased from 8 to 12 to support additional elective surgery
• Completion of the new paediatric unit on ward 4K which adds an additional 13 beds to existing paediatric and adolescent bed capacity
North West Regional Hospital:
• The creation of a standalone infectious disease ward independent of the medical ward
• An additional 6 beds on the medical ward
We welcome the commitment to add capacity to what we all know is a system struggling with capacity constraints for too long, but the real issue is attracting and retaining health workers to make sure this additional capacity can be met.
We’ve attended a meeting about the health recruitment taskforce and look forward to this being rolled out quickly and functionally so the announcements can come to fruition.
The Minister has released a master plan for the future development of the LGH recently, and it’s a roadmap for staged developments to occur at and around the main hospital over the next 20 years. Stakeholders have been having initial discussions about the development of the plan for some time, with the focus being reaching an agreement on a consultation process.
The Premier also announced that they’ve signed a memorandum of understanding with Calvary, which will see a co-located private hospital being constructed on the viewpoint site in Frankland street, according to the master plan. We’ll be seeking more info as it becomes available.
You can check out the plan and make comment at the government’s website.
Between now and mid-July there’ll be worker and community sessions at the LGH. A survey will be conducted, and there’s a display in the LGH cafeteria attended at times by personnel from Infrastructure Services who can answer your questions. We encourage you to have your say.
Submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse are now open and if you intend to make a submission, we’re here to support you through this process.
We strongly recommend you contact HACSUassist before making any submission or statement so we can give you advice on developing your submission and any ongoing support you may need if you are called as a witness.
For more info please contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email@example.com
The mental health reform rolls on and several change proposals in the south have moved to the implementation of phase 1. The consultation and recruitment that needs to occur will continue.
We attend regular briefing sessions focused on the reform process, and this seems to have clarified several issues, particularly about the status of each part of the reform. Initial discussions about the reform will begin with workers in the north west in the coming weeks.
We raised concerns with SMHS management that while the reform and additional resourcing are welcomed, for a lot of our members it’s just more promises that have been talked about for years. They are fatigued from the workload and the constant talk of change without it ever happening, and we want to be sure they are provided with some targeted support.
We’re still really keen to talk to you too, so please get in touch. For more info or to organise a meeting in your work area, please firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 880 032.
Last week we released the Allied Health Professionals discussion paper that summarises survey responses from allied health professionals about their experiences at work and their priorities for change. The issues laid out in the discussion paper are taken directly from the survey data and from HACSU members working within the broad spectrum of allied health as it’s currently defined.
You can read the paper here.
It says what most of you know – we need to get busy addressing a range of issues to make Tasmania an attractive place to come and work and build a lasting, valued career.
In the coming weeks we’ll be establishing working groups of health professional members to establish a reasoned position on a range of matters, and we want you to get involved. The working groups will focus on classification, resourcing and workload, education and professional development, worker well-being, job satisfaction and a range of other issues addressed by a general working group.
Keep your eye out for more details and meeting dates in your area. For more information, please contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email@example.com
We’ve been to some meetings in the north west with members about the upcoming changes in Environmental Cleaning Protocols, including blood and body fluid spill management. The protocol system looks to be more organised and easier to track compared to current practices, but it also raises a few questions, the most obvious being: is it more work, or less?
We’re waiting on a change proposal and daily cleaning lists from THS so we can identify any areas of change to workloads.
We’ve voiced our concerns over the discharge times becoming increasingly later – historically, discharges would occur from 10am but the majority of discharges now occur between 1-3pm. It’s a problem because many shifts end at 3pm.
The idea of the new system is to try to eradicate some of the double handling, non-handling and rushed cleaning occasions on later departing patients, as these can lead to jobs not being completed to standard or missed altogether through unclear communication lines. It will also define each staff member’s role – nurse, ward aide, cleaner – in maintaining clean, sterile wards and at what stage of the day.
It appears the north west will be a test bunny for the arrangements, but if proven to be a smoother process, we’re sure we’ll see it at other hospitals.
It’s a really good chance for those employed in domestic services and ward aide roles throughout the state to have set guidelines of their responsibilities and duties on a daily basis.
Thanks for the amazing work you’re continuing to do to support our community.
Feel free to contact HACSUassist between 8am and 6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Fridays, about anything in this newsletter or any other concern, however small you feel your issue might be.
Be strong, take care and stay safe - we’re proud to represent you.