Ms ARMITAGE question to the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Mrs Hiscutt -
1. How many ENT surgeons are currently providing specialist services -
(a) in the north-west
(b) in Laurnceston
(c) in Hobart?
2. Of the total number of ENT specialists, how many are -
(a) expected to retire across the three regions in the near future; and
(b) is it expected that two overseas trained surgeons at the Lauriceston General Hospital will be leaving?
3. What specific plans are in place and what action is the Government taking to address issues surrounding recruitment and retention of ENT specialists in Tasmania considering there has not been any ENT specialist trainees in Tasmania for 15 years?
Ms Hiscutt -
1. The Government is advised that most hours of specialist Ear Nose and Throat are presently worked within the private sector.
In the public system, ENT surgeons work as follows -
(a) In the north-west, one ENT Surgeon is employed as an ENT visiting medical specialist - VMS -working 0.47 full time equivalent.
(b) While recruitment for a permanent specialist continues, the Launceston General
Hospital has on-call coverage provided by two local ENT visiting medical specialists
for one week each per month. Urgent cases are referred to the Royal Hobart Hospital if required.
(c) In Hobart two ENT Surgeons are employed as ENT VMS, each working 0.26 FTE, and two others are employed as ENT visiting medical officers, each working 0.09 FTE. A career medical officer and an ENT registrar also each work full time.
2. Any practitioner's retirement is a personal decision based on a range of factors. The two overseas trained ENT specialists at the LGH have unfortunately departed due to a range of factors, although one has expressed an interest to the THS in returning to the LGH as a specialist surgeon if he is able to obtain his Australian qualification, which could occur next year.
3. There is a desire to support accredited training in Tasmania, and this will be considered by the Royal Hobart Hospital. Future specialist medical recruitment strategies for the THS will be informed by the Health Recruitment, Retention and Workforce Planning Unit.