UPDATED: DISTRICT hospitals and regional health facilities should be properly utilised to ensure all Tasmanians can access timely healthcare close to where they live, Labor leader Rebecca White MHA said at New Norfolk yesterday. “After nearly a decade the Liberal government has failed to invest in our regional hospitals to help Tasmanians access care in their local community.”
Speaking outside the New Norfolk District Hospital with fellow Labor member for Lyons, Jen Butler, Ms White said there were 17 rural and district hospitals across the state that were underutilised in communities where access to primary care services is difficult. She said a future Labor state government would invest in increased nursing and allied health services at these hospitals to treat patients with non-life threatening conditions.
“In addition to helping regional communities, investment in our district hospitals and primary care will also ease the pressure on our emergency departments, ambulance services and hard-working health workers. The 2021/22 Department of Health annual report shows that Tasmania’s district hospitals have a 45.8% occupancy rate, down from 56.1% in 2018-19,” Ms White said.
Ms White said the Liberal state government was focused on the wrong priorities, putting all its efforts into building a stadium. “A Labor government will prioritise our health system and give Tasmanians the health care they need and, most importantly, deserve,” Ms White said.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff, who also serves as Health minister, said the State Government was already investing more into regional services across Tasmania, particularly utilising district hospitals. “I could point to the 2040 plan that we released just last week and point to the fact that we are ensuring there is more care being provided in the community in innovative ways into the future, therefore alleviating the pressures that we have on our acute care health system of which right around the country there is increasing demand,” Mr Rockliff said.
“We will be increasingly utilising our district hospitals to support the community and the community’s needs. We we want to ensure that more people receive the care, safely, that they need in their local area. That is better for the community but also for people’s health and wellbeing as well.