Media release

Consigning the fax machine to the recycle bin – Revolutionising Tasmania's health system starts today

AMA Tasmania President Dr John Saul said that the promised $150m in this budget over the next four years is the substantial commitment that AMA has been looking for to take us to the next level in healthcare delivery.

"I cannot emphasise enough how excited we are to have this strong commitment from the State government in IT.

"AMA Tasmania has previously called for a $400m investment in the digital hospital of the future to transform how health is delivered across the entire health system, and now the government has delivered with this $476m plan.

"If you have benefitted from the COVID@Home program, you will know just some of the benefits of having technology connect you to the health services you need at a given time.

"The benefits are enormous."

Dr Saul added, "the first of three stages will ensure investment into information technology solutions in software and hardware that will see specialist services delivered in a patient's home; will see medication errors reduced due to e-prescription software that can pick up anomalies; that will see GPs able to see in real-time what is happening to their patients while in hospital through an electronic medical record and receive discharge summaries immediately; and will enable doctors to update patient records at the patient's bedside.

"In building efficiency, we increase patient safety, reduce duplication, increase transparency and information sharing, and eliminate paper-based processes.

"Fax machines will be consigned to the recycle bin."

"Improved IT allows for better communication and support for different and more flexible modern models of care.

"This investment will enable virtual care to Tasmanians no matter where they live and link health professionals across the acute and primary sectors from the patient's bedside to their GPs surgery.

"But unfortunately, we cannot stop there; as we have seen in the last few days at the Launceston General Hospital, our hospitals are in crisis with increasing bed block, service disruption, ambulance ramping and a growing elective surgery waiting list.

"To open more beds and fix these issues, we need more doctors and nurses.

 "To do this, we must ensure the Tasmanian health system is competitive on wages in order to attract and retain the doctors we need.

"This means we must pay them an equivalent salary to what they would be paid in Melbourne or Sydney.

"With Hobart now being the most expensive capital in the country to live and housing prices rising across the state, no one will come here to live if it means taking a substantial pay cut.

"Without pay parity, the Tasmanian health system will be forced to rely even more heavily on an expensive and volatile locum workforce.

"We know we need more specialist doctors, especially in Launceston, Burnie, and the Mersey, to reduce our reliance on locums, which means lifting doctors' wages.

"AMA Tasmania will be negotiating our new EBA on the basis of equal care, equal pay.

"If the government hasn't budgeted for a pay increase for doctors, they will need to find the money somewhere or else what is a positive investment in IT today will be swamped by the crises of tomorrow.

"The government cannot let a cash flow crisis put us behind the eight ball when it comes to our health system.>>>>ENDS

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