Published: 04 February 2019

Murchison Independent MLC Ruth Forrest will raise questions about contracts which require patients to pay upwards of $8 per day to watch television in Tasmanian hospitals. 

Ms Forrest said the Tasmanian Liberals need to stop blaming past governments and act to support convalescing residents. 

“To those who say it is a ‘first world’ problem or insignificant or a joke - please consider the individual at the heart of this issue,” Ms Forrest said. 

“It may be your family member, a neighbour or fellow Tasmanian, often on a low income and/or vulnerable.”

Ms Forrest will ask the state government specifically about the cost at hospitals across Tasmania, the companies contracted, the quality of the equipment available, and the details of equipment service agreements.

She also intends to determine how often nursing and other hospital staff are required to assist patients in television repair and servicing. 

“The government needs to get out of this onerous contract – both to the patient but also to the efficiency and cost effectiveness of nursing care,” Ms Forrest said. 

“Nurses shouldn’t be required to spend time trying to fix equipment that isn’t working.

“Many of my constituents and other Tasmanians cannot afford $8 a day (even less able to afford the $10/day in Burnie) for the opportunity to watch television when in hospital.”

A hospital worker who wrote to Ms Forrest said it is an issue of greater concern than many realise. 

I’ve seen a lot of patients use the last of their money to pay for the TV. 

A Tasmanian hospital employee

“It absolutely breaks my heart when you see patients (mainly older) that have no family or friends just sitting in hospital for days on end with nothing to do while they get better,” the worker said. 

“I’ve seen a lot of patients use the last of their money to pay for the TV.

“I couldn’t think of anything worse than laying in a hospital bed all day knowing your couldn’t afford normal TV.

“There are patients who stay in hospital for weeks/months. That’s a lot of money for something that you can get for free at home. 

“We have an ageing population and they get very lonely when they have no family/friends to visit. TV is a small company for those kind of people.”

“TV isn’t a major part of a patient recovery but I believe that they would get better sooner if they had something to take their mind of their injury/illness.”

The Advocate 4 February 2019

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