Fast-track ER plan

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 28 Juli 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIAN hospitals will get new fast-track emergency units under a $22 million Federal Government funding deal expected to be announced today.

Overcrowding of emergency patients at hospitals in Hobart and Launceston will be reduced by the introduction of new Tasmanian-designed emergency units, federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek told the Sunday Tasmanian.

The agreement between the federal and Tasmanian governments means the units will reduce avoidable admissions to take the pressure off emergency departments in the state's two main hospitals.

"This innovative solution will assist in reducing unnecessary admissions to hospital wards," Ms Plibersek said. "It will also help to reduce emergency department overcrowding."

The Royal Hobart Hospital has been allocated $10.3 million for an emergency medical unit and psychiatric nurses for its emergency department.

The State Government will add $533,000 to that.

The Launceston General Hospital will get $11.6 million for a GP and hospital department referral-based service and pre-admission treatment of chronic condition patients.

The LGH also will expand its emergency department fast-track service.

National Health Performance Authority figures last week showed the Royal Hobart was Australia's worst major regional hospital at getting patients operated on inside the recommended 30 days. The LGH was the second-worst.

The new units were welcomed by state Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne.

"Launceston's emergency department fast-track service has already achieved significant reductions in waiting and treatment times for low-urgency patients," she said.

"The Royal's new unit will have a broadly skilled team and will be separate from the emergency department. It will look after patients who need short-term evaluation, investigation and treatment."

The agreement is part of the Federal Government's $325 million Tasmanian health assistance package, which will fund the new clinics until 2016.

The Australian Greens yesterday committed to an additional $664 million in Medicare funding.

Spokesman Richard Di Natale said the Greens espoused universal healthcare.

"Labor cut over $600 million in Medicare funding in the last Budget," he said.

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