PREMIER and health minister Jeremy Rockliff today said the State Government was taking all available steps to ensure the continued delivery of medical services in the Upper Derwent Valley and Central Highlands following the sudden closure of the Ouse GP clinic last week.
“I share the frustration expressed by members of the Central Highlands community that negotiations between two private providers have been unsuccessful, resulting in the cessation of the GP service in Ouse,” Mr Rockliff said. “I have been in regular communication with the Mayor of the Central Highlands Council over the past week, and I very much appreciate her advocacy and reflecting the community’s concerns,” he said.
“The Tasmanian Health Service has commenced discussions with alternative service providers in an attempt to establish a short-term solution while a longer-term provider is found. Acknowledging that the Federal Government is predominantly responsible for funding GPs and primary care, I have raised the issue of support for our Primary Health care providers with the Federal Government and I will continue to raise with my federal colleagues for additional support for this vital sector.”
New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News last week reported that Ouse GP clinic had closed suddenly, with patients attending appointments only to find out that that the medical practice was no longer open. Moreton Group Medical Services, which took over the centre late last year, said the clinic had been transferred to Highland Rural Health on April 1. A message on the centre’s answering service said Highland Rural Health had not been given a licence to run the service and directed callers back to Moreton Group.
Central Highlands mayor Loueen Triffitt said she was aware of the situation and was liaising with the State Government. “First and foremost is our concern for the community,” Cr Triffitt said. “We cannot be without a health service.”
Mr Rockliff today said support was available for any provider who can establish a medical service in the Ouse community. “In the interim, residents of Ouse and the Central Highlands who require medical attention can still access the community nurse at the Ouse Medical Centre, who can assist or refer you to an appropriate service. Residents can also call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. If it is an emergency, all residents are asked to call 000 immediately,” he said.