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Better Health Care for the North West

Will Hodgman, Premier
Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will prioritise health in the North West with an extra $79 million over the next six years to take health services in the region to the next level.

This will build on the significant investment we have already made over the past four years in extra nurses, new services, beds and better patient transport.

Having fixed the Budget we are now able to invest in an additional 98 hospital and health staff, open eight new beds and upgrade both the Mersey and Burnie hospitals.

A re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government will provide $28.3 million over six years to fully staff and open a new eight bed Acute Medical Unit at the North West Regional Hospital.

These new beds will be placed adjacent to the Emergency Department, and put downward pressure on Emergency Department waiting times while also helping to improve elective surgery throughput. The new unit is expected to open by December this year.

Mersey Hospital redevelopment. More services and new staff

Having rescued the Mersey and secured a record $730 million funding deal from the Federal Government, we will now bring forward the $35 million Mersey Community Hospital Redevelopment. This will allow patients and staff to benefit sooner from a range of important improvements including:

  • Upgraded air conditioning to bring the site up to modern standards;
  • A new hospital-wide Nurse Call/Duress system;
  • A dedicated Rehabilitation Ward as well as dedicated Palliative Care beds;
  • An improved outpatient area to support a wider range of visiting specialists;
  • A redeveloped medical ward, with improvements to allow for specialist geriatric care;
  • Upgraded surgical theatres and recovery areas and the redevelopment of the Day Procedures and Endoscopy Unit; and
  • Construction of a multi-storey car park, to provide up to 200 additional spaces for staff and visitors.

A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will also invest over $9 million on a range of new services to establish a full rehabilitation ward, dedicated palliative care rooms and a greater range of outpatient services. These services will build on the Mersey’s new role as a Dedicated Elective Surgery Centre, and result in reduced travel to Burnie and Launceston for local residents.

To support new services at the Mersey we will recruit over 34 full time staff including more than 20 nurses, four allied health professionals, two doctors and more than seven other hospital support staff.

North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) Upgrades

We recognise the critical role the NWRH plays in servicing patients from Burnie and the West Coast. A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal will continue to invest in the Burnie hospital with $2 million to build a purpose built antenatal clinic as part of the Integrated North West Birthing Service.

This state-of-the-art clinic will mean better support for mums and their babies. We will work with staff to locate the best site and to design the facility, which is expected to be complete by mid-2020.

We will also invest $500,000 to improve air-conditioning at the NWRH to ensure patients, visitors and staff are more comfortable in both summer and winter.

30 More Nursing Graduates for the North West

A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will fund an additional 30 nursing positions each year, which will see an additional 180 offered over the next six years.

It is estimated that 30 of these positions will be in North West Tasmania and on the West Coast.

This builds on the success of the expanded program introduced by the Hodgman Liberal Government in 2014, where transition to practice placements have increased each year.

Graduates will be offered positions at the major public hospitals around Tasmania, as well as at rural and regional sites.

Better home based health care

A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will extend Community Rapid Response to the North West to take pressure off our hospital system. Already a success in the Launceston region, the three year North West pilot will see people who need short term intermediate care able to access health services in the comfort of their own home or in the community, freeing up hospital beds.

It is estimated that approximately 17 additional staff will be recruited to support the service, including 12 nurses and five allied health staff, and it is expected this initiative will provide almost 4000 appointments and other services across the North West coast each year.

Other initiatives in the North West include:

  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Beds at Ulverstone – we will provide funding to the Salvation Army to continue operating 12 drug and alcohol rehabilitation beds at Ulverstone for a further three years after the current agreement expires, taking it to 2022.
  • New Burnie super Ambulance Station - $6 million to build a new greenfield Ambulance Station at Burnie. Importantly, a site will be selected with better access to the highway, which will reduce ambulance response times in the region.
  • Stage 2 of the King Island Hospital redevelopment - These significant works will include palliative care and associated family rooms, acute care and observation areas, improved emergency and after-hours access and a kitchen upgrade. The redevelopment will also include construction of dedicated housing for nurses to improve recruitment and retention.

Only a majority Hodgman Liberal Government will deliver the health system Tasmanians expect and deserve.

For more details on Better Health Care for the North West, click here.

For more details on our Record boost for Mental Health Care, click here.