Tasmania Winter Plan 2018

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Tasmania Winter Plan 2018

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Vaccination strategy and investment

  • Getting as many Tasmanians vaccinated against flu as possible.
  • Promoting that the best protection we have against flu is to get vaccinated.
  • Protecting Tasmanians vulnerable to severe flu by continuing to offer free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program to people most at risk.
  • A new State-funded free flu vaccination program for all Tasmanian children aged from six months to under five years.
  • Offering free flu vaccination for all DHHS and THS staff, targeting frontline workers to reduce the overall impact of flu.
  • Working with the aged care sector to get their clients and staff vaccinated, and develop flu outbreak management plans.

Ongoing flu testing

  • Extended laboratory testing will be maintained.

Regular reporting via FluTAS

  • Laboratory-confirmed flu cases and other measures of flu will continue to be compiled and reported.
  • Flu surveillance snapshots will be provided weekly, with regular detailed FluTAS reports published monthly.


Maximising bed capacity

  • Targeted at building winter capacity at each major public hospital.
  • This includes improving patient flow and discharge, managing demand for beds and managing demand for inter-facility transfers.
  • These initiatives will be coordinated through the new Integrated Operations Centre.
  • Identifying patients that can be managed at a different level of care through a bed utilisation tool to free up acute care beds and improve length of stay or identify service gaps.
  • Early identification of private inpatients to facilitate access to private health facilities.
  • Royal Hobart Hospital
    • An increase of eight beds by the end of June 2018.
    • Further 22 beds at the Hobart Repatriation Hospital available for sub-acute care from July 2018.
    • Six extra mental health step-up care beds have been brought online at Tolosa Street to improve patient flow through the emergency department.
  • Launceston General Hospital
    • Eight overflow beds are available on ward 4D, an increase of five beds from last winter. Additional flex capacity across the hospital will be utilised in line with demand and safe staffing.
    • A transit lounge at the LGH will be operational from June 2018 to improve patient flow in the hospital.
  • North West Regional Hospital and North West
    • The Integrated Operations Centre will be operational from early May 2018. It will enhance communication between teams involved in patient safety and patient flow to improve patient management.
    • A new pre-admission clinic opening in July 2018 at the NWRH to help patient flow and increase efficiency.

Rostering staff to meet demand surges

  • The Tasmanian Health Service will implement key strategies to ensure appropriate and increased staffing for those service areas that traditionally see additional demand during the flu period.
    • Staffing levels to be increased due to expected increases in staff sick leave.
    • Additional clinical and support staff will be employed.
    • Additional casual pool recruitment and agency staffing options will be utilised.
    • Prioritise the appointment of new staff to all vacancies as quickly as possible.
    • Develop a register of non-clinical nursing positions to work in appropriate clinical areas.


Ensuring effective planning is being effectively used

  • The THS will increase its focus on ensuring timely discharge for patients and reducing avoidable delays, such as difficulties obtaining medication, support services, testing and/or treatment.
  • Implement discharge planning on day of arrival including patient pathway for length of stays likely to be more than 10 days.
  • Deliver improved discharge strategies for key wards, such as respiratory units
  • Maintain and deliver post-discharge support options.

Patient flow meetings at all hospitals

  • Improved coordination of parties involved in patient flow and patient care.
  • Implement pull model transit and discharge lounges.

Use of rural and regional hospitals

  • Using the assistance of District and Private Hospitals for additional capacity if required.

Strong coordination between Ambulance Tasmania and hospitals

  • Ambulance Tasmania will deliver a short-term winter escalation plan with RHH, LGH and NWRH.
  • The first ever Winter Care List will identify patients more vulnerable to developing flu complications, such as those with respiratory diseases. The list will be completed by July 2018, and will be updated throughout the duration of the Winter Plan.
  • Those persons identified on the list will have care plans developed.
  • Ambulance Tasmania will ensure extended care paramedics are provided with up to date information on alternative service providers statewide. This will include information on after-hours GP clinics and pharmacies.
  • Ambulance Tasmania will continue to work with DHHS, THS and the aged care sector to manage demand throughout the winter period.


Continuing to consult with staff and hospital management

  • Communication of winter planning initiatives to all staff and key stakeholders.

Public Health Services working with aged care providers

  • Working closely with Tasmanian aged care providers will help protect their residents and staff from the flu.
  • Public Health Services has been providing advice to aged care facilities around developing site specific flu management plans.
  • More than 70 representatives from aged care facilities around the state attended a recent workshop organised by Public Health Services to help these facilities prepare for this year’s flu season.
  • Encouraging aged care facilities to provide timely recognition and reporting of flu outbreaks to Public Health Services.

Ongoing coordination with community and primary health care providers

  • Ensuring the community and health care providers are fully informed about the planned approach to managing common winter conditions.
  • Primary Health Tasmania has been working closely with Government in planning for the winter season and strongly supports this whole-of-system approach.
  • Primary Health Tasmania will be working with GPs and community providers to maximise awareness of all of the options available to providers and their patients in and outside normal operating hours. These options include use of the Tas After Hours website, Health Direct and GP Assist Services in the out of hours period.