Health Reform consultation underway

The Liberal Government is committed to putting patients back where they belong – at the forefront of decision-making in health.

In our first budget we delivered a record investment in health. It is clear, however, that without reform of the system itself we cannot expect to achieve improved health outcomes in the long term.

The fact is that despite the professionalism and dedication of our health professionals, the system is not working, and in its current form cannot work. We cannot continue to ask patients and hard-working staff to battle against a system which has proven it cannot deliver the health outcomes Tasmanians deserve.

Unlike the previous Labor-Green government, we understand that the only goal worth striving for is for better services and better health outcomes – not the approach of longer waiting lists which the previous government oversaw.

That’s why we are undertaking the One State, One Health System, Better Outcomes reform agenda. A key part of this is the White Paper process on Delivering Safe and Sustainable Clinical Services. This will ensure that all Tasmanians will have equal access to better health services, regardless of where they live.

Last month we released the Green Paper for discussion and this week we are holding consultation forums across the state to receive direct input from health professionals and consumers into how we can deliver outcomes for patients better than what the system is currently capable of achieving.

The Green Paper starts an informed conversation with the community, clinicians and those who work in our health system on how we can, and must, improve. Public forums on the Green Paper are being held in Burnie, Devonport, Hobart and Launceston this week.

We should be aiming for essential and emergency services delivered at high quality in each region. Equally, we must be willing to question whether complex, high-acuity services provided irregularly in multiple locations is efficient or even safe.

Central to our reform plans will be the development of a Clinical Services Profile, describing where services can be located in a manner that gives all Tasmanians access to better services.

The Liberal Government is acting decisively in health. We’ve established the Health Council of Tasmania to provide high level advice to the Government. We’ve got the redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital back on track. In July this year three Tasmanian Health Organisations will be merged into one Tasmanian Health Service, creating a more efficient service and saving up to $21 million to be reinvested back into an improved health system.

Tasmanians should no longer accept the status quo where our health outcomes are among the worst in the country. Real, genuine reform is needed and the Liberal Government is working with the community to develop a shared understanding of the problem and a commitment to successfully achieve the much-needed reforms.

Consultation dates and venues:

Wednesday 21 January 2015:  Hobart Public Forum 5:00 PM – 7:00, PM Hobart City Hall

Thursday 22 January 2015: Devonport Public Forum 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM Devonport Entertainment and Convention Centre – Town Hall Theatre

Burnie Public Forum 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Burnie Arts and Function Centre

Friday 23 January 2015:  Launceston Public Forum 4:00 – 6.00 PM Grand Chancellor

The Green Paper and other consultation information can be found online at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/onehealthsystem

A final White paper on reform will be released in March.

Royal decision brings immediate boost for health and jobs

The Liberal Government is moving quickly to resume work at the Royal Hobart Hospital after we made the sensible and prudent decision to proceed with a better, safer and more affordable Royal Hobart redevelopment.

We are wasting no time getting on with the redevelopment. The redevelopment project team including the managing contractor, architects and engineers, held its first meeting yesterday morning to map out the recommencement of the project, with critical works expected to start in February next year.

Plans are being progressed to engage sub-contractors to progress refurbishments for the decanting plan.

The reworked redevelopment includes the addition of a critically important helipad, a temporary structure  to facilitate the new on-site decanting plan, and a new hyperbaric chamber.

Managing Contractor John Holland and Fairbrother Joint Venture has already signed a new contract which enables the project to be delivered under the new specifications, without adding to the estimated $70 million cost blowout incurred by the previous Labor-Green Government.

There is no doubt that the revised project that we are proceeding with will deliver Tasmania a state of the art health facility that will help reduce surgery wait times and improve health outcomes.

Almost as importantly though, the economic benefit of this project will start to flow almost immediately, with sub-contractors being engaged to begin works in early 2015.

The $657 million project (of which $154 million has already been spent), will create more than 4,000 jobs in Tasmania and generate $1.6 billion in economic activity.

The recommencement of the project gives important certainty to the contractor, the construction industry, doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital and the Tasmanian community.

This has been made possible by the decisive action of the Liberal Government and the Rescue Taskforce.

We now have a project that all Tasmanians can have confidence in, can be delivered safely, and will improve health outcomes in Tasmania without breaking the bank.

Release of Green Paper another step towards fixing the Health system

The Liberal Government is committed to fixing Tasmania’s health system and putting patients back at the forefront of every decision – where they belong. Today we have released a Green Paper on Delivering Safe and Sustainable Clinical Services in Tasmania as the next step in our One State, One Health System, Better Outcomes plan to rebuild essential services.

It’s time to shift the conversation to one about “access to better care”, rather than one about “better access to care”. Read more »