State Government ‘still listening’ to health concerns

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.


  1. This response clearly shows a lack of understanding of the issues impacting the provision of Medical/Health services in the Derwent Valley/Central Highlands communities. The 7 additional beds were introduced for overflow at the RHH. When you consider that people are waiting anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to see a GP, there are no after hours Medical/Health services in the Derwent Valley/Central Highlands communities, there is a high ratio Aged population, that there is a constant increase in population in these communities and they are increasingly young families, that people who were previously on the books of the retired GP’s and are still waiting to get on the books of the Medical Centre, that people can not present at the New Norfolk Hospital and therefore have no other option, When unable to see a GP which can be 24/7, to call an ambulance or present at the RHH ED or wait for weeks to see a GP. This will not create better health outcomes unless th issues raised in the petition are addressed and the response clearly shows, that they are not interested in addressing the issues.

  2. Public Health has never been a strong point of any Liberal government , it goes against their beliefs of small government and personal choice/freedom/responsibility.

  3. My wife and I were in such despair over the availability and quality of care at the local clinic that we have both moved our health care to clinics out of New Norfolk. Now I DON’T have to wait weeks for an urgent appointment.

  4. After having a car accident quite a few years ago, I still have a lot of health problems, it’s really hard when I need to see my doctor but I usually have to wait 3 weeks to get into see him. I know I’m not the only one that has this problem and I am now thinking of going to a different practice outside of New Norfolk.

  5. It’s an absolute disgrace at the moment to get healthcare in the Derwent Valley. My son injured his knee two weeks ago, booked him in at the medical centre after numourous calls and was asked is it urgent? I wouldn’t be calling if i didn’t need him seen by a doctor!
    Doctor sent him for an MRI which was a 11 day wait.
    Son had said MRI on Thursday last week, and try to get an appointment for the results this morning to be cut off with “we don’t have any appointments sorry, bye”
    He’s 14 years old, and can’t walk!!!

    (Royal Hobart Hospital was a joke to deal with as well! We took him there due to swelling in his knee to be told we will do an X-ray to eliminate a break but go to the MRI appointment and have that at Radiology Tas!)

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