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Doctors call for crisis meeting as Royal Hobart Hospital battles bed block

Pulse Tasmania
Ambulances at the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department. Image / Pulse

The peak professional body for doctors in Australia says extreme pressure on the Royal Hobart Hospital is leading to extensive bed block in the emergency department.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Tasmania spokesperson Dr Michael Lumsden Steel said a “bed crisis” is leading to the cancellation of essential surgeries and overcrowding in the emergency department.


“On any given day, the RHH emergency department will care for around 200 patients, with 30-40% requiring admission into the hospital,” he said.

“Today alone, we already have over 30 patients’ bed-blocked in the emergency department (including EMU) waiting for an inpatient bed and we haven’t even hit flu season.”

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Tasmania spokesperson Dr Michael Lumsden Steel. Image / AMA

He said over 100 sick and injured people currently in the hospital “no longer qualify for an acute care bed”, even though they may still require medical care.

“Many of these people could be moved right now if there were Hospital in the Home (HITH), sub-acute, or other non-acute beds to go to,” he said.

The Royal Hobart Hospital. Image / Pulse

The AMA is urging the federal and state governments to work together to address the issue, suggesting an urgent crisis meeting be held to determine solutions that will free up acute care beds for patients who need them most.

“We can’t keep lurching from crisis to crisis … the state government needs to open more beds wherever it can … for critically ill
patients today,” Lumsden Steel said.


The Health Department is yet to comment on the situation.

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