Burnie City Council calls for transparency in Health Reforms

Burnie City Council is concerned that the State Government has already made decisions about the future of health services in the State and that the North-West will see a reduction in services that will significantly impact the region’s two hospitals.

Mayor Anita Dow said the Green Paper and health forums did not provide enough critical information to enable a considered response to the Government’s push for hospital reforms.

“From the current data being provided, it is impossible to judge whether the North West Regional Hospital and Mersey Community Hospital are less safe and sustainable than Launceston and Hobart; and yet there appears to be a clear push for a reduction in services in the North-West.”

Council is also concerned that there appears to be little time from the closing of submissions on the Green Paper to the release of the White Paper.

“Such a short time frame would indicate that much of the White Paper will have been formulated prior to submissions being received. The Health Minister needs to explain how seriously submissions will be taken in completing the White Paper,” she said.

Mayor Dow said that Council was very concerned that ill-considered changes to the health system in the North-West would result in a severe reduction in services.

“We are concerned that a reduction in the current hospital model will result in the loss of experienced surgeons and staff from our region, which will ultimately impact on service delivery from the region’s hospitals. The data that does exist indicates that our region is currently well serviced by the two campus model, and rather than reducing services, the Minister should be demonstrating how this model could be strengthened.”   

Council is also concerned with how any changes could impact on the Rural Clinical School.

“We seek an assurance from the Minister that any changes to health services in our region will not impact on the success of this significant education program that will ensure our region will continue to have access to highly skilled staff.”

Mayor Dow also cautioned against those seeking to use the current reform debate to push for a new hospital site.

“The State Government has invested millions at the North West Regional Hospital in the past four years. The Cancer Centre will be operating in around 12 months. It is frankly ludicrous to expect the State Government to now mothball such a significant investment. We need to focus the discussion on retaining services for our region now based on current realities, rather than regurgitating past decisions that cannot be changed or blue sky thinking that ignores geographical, political and economic imperatives.”  

For further information please contact

Libby Dobson
Communications Officer
Burnie City Council
(03) 6430 5716 or 0448 568 728

Email: ldobson@burnie.net