The Liberal Government is embarking on a dramatic change to the way health services are delivered in Tasmania. Some of the changes outlined in the White Paper are well intentioned to limit duplication and provide safer and more efficient services. But there are challenges too, like requiring patients to travel further for complex care.
The Minister’s approach to health reform has focussed heavily on what our main hospitals offer and doesn’t give thoughtful consideration to the way health services are delivered in our regions. The way we can make significant improvements to health outcomes across the state is to invest resources early and focus on reducing avoidable hospitalisations.
The Minister expects the redesign of the health system will ensure that we spend our existing health funds more efficiently and has said there is no new money to implement this package. However at the same time the Liberal Government is slashing $210 million from the health system, shutting beds and removing staff from key services. The Minister is asking our health system to do more with much less.
To date they have cut 224 jobs from DHHS and 40 beds are due to shut by 30 June at the Jasmine Units at the Roy Fagen Centre, the John L Grove unit at the LGH and at the North West Regional Hospital. Plus elective surgery waiting lists blew out by 20% across the state in the three months to December 2014 and people are now waiting longer for surgery. For the Minister to say his whole reform process is cost neutral defies common sense. Any reform package must be underpinned by appropriate funding. Especially when there are huge expectations of the workforce to adapt to new locations and new models for service delivery
The success of any reform process depends on genuine community consultation. The Labor Party is serious about playing a constructive role in public debate. We want to hear your views about the Government’s health reforms. Over the weeks and months ahead we will be using online consultation platform PlaceSpeak to conduct an evolving conversation with you about the health services you value and the things you think can be improved.
In order to fully participate in this conversation you will need to register with PlaceSpeak here: www.placespeak.com/tasmaniahealth. Your personal details will remain private, even to the Labor Party, but this ensures we are only hearing from real people. You can also find a link from Tasmanian Labor’s webpage. Take this opportunity to have your voice heard on the important issue of health reform.