A local campaign to save the Midlands Multi-purpose Health Centre at Oatlands from slated budget cuts is underway, as community concerns grow about the fate of the hospital.
Greens Leader Kim Booth MP, who today met with locals in Oatlands, including a local nurse and doctor, said the Health Centre provided essential health and wellness services to the broader midlands community, as well as to Tasmanians as far away as the East Coast.
“It is clear that the Liberal government’s attack on rural health services is false economy, and the proposed cuts to the Oatlands Hospital and Health Centre will put lives at risk,” Mr Booth said.
“According to the deeply concerned local residents who gave up their time to discuss their concerns with me today, the proposed cuts will cost at least one nurse, and shut down the local ambulance service.”
“Not only do rural Tasmanians deserve affordable and accessible health services, we all know that eroding these services also erodes the viability of rural and country towns.”
Endorsed Greens’ candidate for Southern Midlands Council, Jo Bain, said the looming budget cuts reflect poor bureaucratic decisions which will erode the community’s access to health services but without delivering any meaningful savings. They may, in fact, increase costs while reducing health outcomes.
“The Multi-purpose Centre is a real hub for our community and this attack on its services will not be tolerated. We have already got a ‘Hands-Off the Oatlands Hospital’ petition to save the Centre underway, with public meetings to follow, should the Health Minister fail to heed that call,” Ms Bain said.
“These cuts will cost the Health Centre’s ambulance services, meaning that now the southern midlands community will have to wait for ambulances to travel from Hobart. This is a life-threatening prospect for locals.”
“Already we have seen the contract with the local pharmacy cancelled which means that now medication needs to come from Hobart. This has real time repercussions for the local community, such as a situation this week where patients at the facility had to wait two days to access Panadol.”
“This measure will not have any real state budget savings but does provide yet another impost on the health centre and its patients, as well as impact on the viability of the local pharmacy.”
“Enough is enough. Rural Tasmanians are doing it tough as it is, and the State government needs to rethink this attack on rural health services,” Ms Bain said.
The Midlands Multi-Purpose Health Centre at Oatlands provides four acute care beds, nine high care beds and nine residential aged care beds to the Midlands community. The Centre also coordinates the delivery of a range of community services, visiting services and community groups such as Community Nursing, Child Health, Disability Services and Diabetic Education Services.
Local resident and endorsed candidate for Southern Midlands Council: Jo Bain on 0409 200 766.