The decision to merge the three Tasmanian Health Organisations into one is welcome, but the Minister's plan to base the new Tasmanian Health Service in Launceston is a serious mistake that smacks of parochial politics interfering in good health governance reform," Greens Health spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said today.
Ms O’Connor, who addressed the annual Tasmanian Health Conference in Hobart today, said the Minister had argued the need for consultation when he amended the Greens’ motion to merge the three THOs - debated on the 25th of June - to remove the requirement for immediate action to review the three THOs.
"It doesn't look like there's been enough consultation with clinical and health policy professionals over the decision to centralize health system governance in Launceston. It looks very much like a Launceston-based Minister has put politics and self-interest first. This has been a problem in Tasmanian health policy for far too long,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The Greens have been calling for some time now for the merger of the three THOs into one, and therefore we welcome that aspect of Minister’s announcement today, to provide for the more efficient, and hopefully more effective and strategically statewide delivery of health services to Tasmanians.”
“We hold serious concerns that a northern location of the new Tasmanian Health Service will impact on its ability to succeed. Launceston does not have the critical mass of population or Departmental expertise, nor the state’s major tertiary and teaching hospital which the Royal Hobart Hospital.”
“It is hard to escape the impression that this is a political decision, and that if the Minister was southern based this new THS would remain based in the State’s capital where it can leverage the necessary skills and expertise.”
“As identified by the national President of the AMA, Tasmania must break down our internal north versus south parochialism to ensure good public policy decisions are made and quality health services are delivered when and where they are needed to Tasmanians, regardless of where they live.”
“In this instance, establishing such a significant health entity in a location divorced from the critical mass of health expertise, including the UTAS Medical Precinct, and the major tertiary and teaching hospital, could undermine its capacity to deliver the urgently needed reforms.”
“Nobody wants to see this reform fail. It is crucial to the well-being of all Tasmanians that it succeeds, which is why the Greens urge the Minister to pause, rethink the northern location, and instead consult with stakeholders and the community, as he said he would do, over this important implementation aspect of merging the three THOs into the new Tasmanian Health Service,” Ms O’Connor said.