Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

13 August 2019

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health

Community Rapid Response service easing pressure on RHH

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is investing in essential services to provide Tasmanians with the right care, in the right place, at the right time. As part of this, a Community Rapid Response Southern service is now keeping patients out of hospital and cared for in the community, easing pressure on the busy Royal Hobart Hospital.

The Community Rapid Response service was launched in Hobart after a successful trial in Launceston, offering care to patients at home seven days a week.

Recruitment is also progressing for the service to be extended into the state’s North-West.

Our hospitals are facing increased demand and the Hodgman majority Liberal Government is committed to increasing services, and finding new ways to reduce pressure.

That’s why we have committed $11.2 million over three years to fund trials of the service in the South and the North-West, as well as $6.9 million over six years to make the Launceston service permanent.

The program provides nursing services wherever it is convenient and safe for patients, including in patients’ homes, or in residential aged care facilities, under the guidance of GPs.

This service has been proven to reduce hospital presentations, delivering quality care outside the hospital setting. It works particularly well for patients with chronic or complex illnesses, who are frequently in the hospital or presenting to the emergency department.

Importantly, it also means patients can be treated in a comfortable home or community environment, closer to their families and support networks.

More than 6,800 appointments were held in patients’ homes in the first year of the Launceston service, which commenced in 2018, and a survey found 96 per cent of GPs agreed patients referred would otherwise need to go to the LGH emergency department for intervention or hospitalisation.

Since commencing just over a fortnight ago, with a progressive rollout through targeted GP practices, the Hobart service has already accepted nine referrals and provided nearly 50 occasions of care.

The service is nurse-led and has just over 12 FTE in the South, with all positions now recruited.

We are delivering our health plan with record funding, and we will continue to invest in the essential services Tasmanians need through programs like this one.

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