Burnie Mayor seeks non-political decision on maternity services

Burnie Mayor Anita Dow has urged Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson against making a political decision about the location of maternity services for the Cradle Coast region.

Mayor Dow said “The indecision about the delivery of maternity services threatens the integrity of the whole White Paper reform.

“The North West has been assured that decisions about other health services contained in the White Paper have been clearly based on evidence and clinical best practice. The same evidence base needs to be applied to maternity services.”

Mayor Dow has again called on the Health Minister to release the criteria for deciding where maternity services should be based.

“By releasing the criteria now, the public can be assured that the decision about maternity services will be made on the basis of safety, quality and access, which is the basis of the whole reform and in line with the role delineation framework.”

“I acknowledge that the decision on the location of maternity services in the North West region will generate a lot of debate in the community. This is even more reason for the Health Minister to take the region into his confidence and clearly explain the factors that will be taken into account in deciding on the location of maternity services.”

“If maternity services are moved to the Mersey Community Hospital, measures need to be put in place to ensure that patients from the far North West and West Coast, who are already required to travel significant distances, are not further disadvantaged.”

Mayor Dow also called on the Minister to ensure ongoing Commonwealth funding to support the Mersey Community Hospital.

“The State government’s aim is to make the Mersey Community Hospital a centre of excellence for day-surgery, however the government needs to ensure that it has the appropriate funding agreements in place to make this happen.”

"Health services are an important contributor to our regional economy and are one of our major employers. It is important, now more than ever, that we retain professionals in our region. The model of visiting physicians to the region from Launceston needs to be demonstrated to be sustainable and to meet the chronic health needs of our communities in a timely manner. Significant resources also need to be invested in a cohesive model of primary health care provision in the state."

For further information please contact

Janine Phillips
Communications Officer
Burnie City Council
03 6430 5716 or 0448 568 728

Email: jphillips@burnie.net