Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

6 September 2021

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Health

‘Supersizing’ the RHH emergency department

The Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department will be ‘supersized’ to ensure the number of beds and treatment points in the expanded ED can support staff to respond to the increased level of demand being experienced.

As part of stage 2 of the RHH redevelopment, we will accelerate the opening of 25 new emergency department beds by the end of 2022, and deliver an expanded ED footprint capable of meeting emergency demand until 2035.

Work will also occur on level 3 of A Block to deliver 24 new general medicine beds this financial year, providing additional capacity and improving patient flow through the ED.

This is part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s commitment to prioritise health so Tasmanians can get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget prioritises health to secure Tasmania’s future, with $10.7 billion over the Forward Estimates, which is $900 million more for health than last year’s Budget.

We know there are ongoing challenges due to increasing demand and more people presenting for care at EDs in our public hospitals. This is not unique to Tasmania – it is being experienced right across Australia.

In July this year, there were 14,738 presentations to EDs across the state’s public hospitals.

Along with increased numbers of presentations, we are seeing an increase in the complexity of patients and an increase in the number of patients needing hospital admission.

The RHH in particular has experienced increased demand, with high numbers of emergency presentations this year.

Our $200 million RHH stage 2 redevelopment includes expanding the ED, refurbishing wards and other works in A Block, expanding ICU capacity and refurbishing J Block to accommodate inpatient services.

While investment and increases to acute capacity like this are vital to meet current and future demand, it is also extremely important we take a more holistic approach to health by strengthening community-based care. 

This work is already underway, with initiatives including GP After Hours Support and our Community Rapid Response service, to provide the right care in the right setting and reduce pressure on our hospitals.

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