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Unified Health System Needed Across Tasmania

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Saturday, 11 April 2020

Tags: Health, Hospitals, COVID-19

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

It’s been almost two weeks since the Federal Government announced it would underwrite the takeover of private hospitals to bolster the capacity of the public system and prevent it becoming overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome the government’s decision to take operational control of the North West Private Hospital.

The Greens have been urging the government to take control of the state’s private hospitals since March 31, and reiterate that call today. We must heed the lessons learned in the North West, and follow suit with all private hospitals across Tasmania.

While the Tasmanian Government announced it would take over operational control of the North West Private two days ago, there’s no information about plans for the rest of the State’s private hospitals.

Tasmania need a unified health system, and all resources assembled to prevent coronavirus spread outside the North West. We have already seen how fast things change.

Last weekend, North West Coasters were worried their health system would not be able to cope with the number of cases that had then been reported at the North West Regional and the Mersey Hospital. Since then, another 32 cases have been reported - comprising staff, patients and close contacts from the North West’s hospitals.

This is a fast-growing outbreak that is also having a damaging impact on the availability of health resources in the region.

Emergency departments and wards are closed at North West hospitals, patients are being transferred to Launceston, and hundreds of staff have been ordered into quarantine for a fortnight. The time to take control of all available health resources is now.

We hope the Premier and Health Minister will shortly announce they have taken control of all private facilities and resources across Tasmania, to help us stop the spread of the COVID-19. This is no time for slow-moving administrative processes; this is urgent.