Premier of Tasmania – Reducing bed block across our hospitals

25 Aug 2022

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Health

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has been engaging with the Federal Government and local service providers to develop innovative solutions as we work to ease bed block pressures across our Hospitals.

We know there are people in our Hospitals who are medically well and ready to be discharged, but cannot leave as they are either unable to access a Residential Aged Care bed or are experiencing delays in seeking approval for supports through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

To further build on the work underground to address this issue, the Tasmanian Government will convene a forum to bring aged care providers and other stakeholders together to identify the barriers to accessing services following hospital discharge and, more importantly, to discuss what we can do to overcome these delays.

The Department of Health has also met with the National Disability Insurance Agency this week to discuss solutions to discharge delays for patients awaiting approval for NDIS package and I understand positive progress is being made.

While we work together to look at longer-term solutions around accommodation to speed up the safe transfer of the medically-ready to aged care and NDIS-supported living arrangements, Tasmania has recently asked the Commonwealth to consider paying for transitional care pathways as an interim measure.

This will not only help with the timely discharge of these patients, and ensure they receive care in the appropriate setting, but also significantly reduce the cost to the Tasmanian health system noting the annual cost of an acute bed is about $815,000 per year versus $450,000 for a sub-acute bed.

Of course, there is no one simple solution to the challenges in our health system. We recognize a system-wide approach is needed, which is why we have introduced the Statewide Access and Flow program to deliver a coordinated improvement in patient access and flow across our hospitals, using digital technologies to improve data access to assist with efficient patient management.

We have also opened Integrated Operation Centers within our major Hospitals which enable centralized communication to support staff to make timely decisions about resource allocation to improve patient flow.

The Aged Care Forum will take place on Friday 16 September, and I look forward to hearing directly from the sector and working collaboratively to resolve these issues, and improve patient access and flow in our hospitals to support Tasmanians to access the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

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