Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, David Gillespie, clearly has no idea what will happen on 1 January 2017, when critical rural health services are discontinued. Regional patients and staff from Meander Valley and Kentish Medical Centre won't be enjoying their Christmas break, with no certainty over services in the new year.
The Liberals suffered a huge defeat at the last Federal election. They lost all their Lower House seats because they were out of touch with the basic life needs of Tasmanians, like health services.
At the recent Liberal State Council meeting, Premier Hodgman made a commitment that his government would make health and education its top priorities.
Regional Tasmania has its eyes on the Premier and his Health Minister to see if their priority is the health of people in rural communities, or whether that was just electorally-driven spin.
The State Liberal Government must do everything they can to pressure their federal colleagues to make sure there's no gap in critical health service funding and delivery for rural Tasmanians, come January 1.
Decisions are being made in Canberra about what's good for the communities around Sheffield and the Meander Valley without asking them what they need. It's the State Government's job to be their voice.
This is an "efficiency" driven debacle that's about scraping money from rural health and centralising services elsewhere. The best health outcomes for rural Tasmanians come from building strong communities with services that have local support.
If this mess can't be fixed by the end of the year, the Health Minister needs to step in and secure the services. Continuity for these essential services can't be lost, the health of rural Tasmania depends on it.