THE State Government says it is continuing to listen to community views about the level of health services in the Derwent Valley, following yesterday’s New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News report about the response to a local petition.
Tabled in the House of Assembly on March 25, the petition called on the State Government to introduce nurse practitioners at the New Norfolk District Hospital and to lobby its federal counterparts to reclassify New Norfolk under Medicare. The petition was organised by New Norfolk’s Bill Dermody, who said there had been 2200 signatories but only 880 had been accepted due to a formatting error that saw many people sign the wrong side of the petition.
In a response provided last night, a government spokesman said: “The Tasmanian Government has a strong commitment to improving access to health services for our rural and regional communities including New Norfolk, and of course we will continue to listen to community views regarding levels of services.
“We have boosted services at New Norfolk in recent years, with seven more beds opened at the New Norfolk District Hospital in 2017, managed with the assistance of a visiting specialist and nurse practitioner. This is in addition to a number of other community-based initiatives implemented in the region including Community Rapid Response services, community nursing and palliative care services. This means we are providing greater access to hospital care closer to home, with services available for sub-acute and stable acute patients within the Derwent Valley community.
“While the State Government is not responsible for private GP services, we know that GPs are the backbone of our primary health care services in Tasmania and play an important role in caring for our community. As a government, we always want to see more GPs calling Tasmania home and we are committed to working closely and assisting the primary healthcare sector as necessary to ensure that Tasmanians are able to access the care they need where and when they need it.
“The Department of Health also advises there has been an increase in the number of GPs working from the Derwent Valley in recent years,” the spokesman said. The government’s full response to the petition was provided to parliament on September 22 and can be read here.