A critical part of our Plan to reduce elective surgery waiting lists is to utilise the Mersey Hospital as a dedicated elective surgery centre. This is on track for implementation from July this year.

Under our One Health System reforms, the Mersey Community Hospital will have a stronger, more secure role as an acute hospital with a broader range of better and safer services.

In preparation, the THS is currently repurposing the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Mersey, retaining the current staff and skills to provide post-operative surgical support for the dedicated elective surgery service, as well as to provide care to patients who require stabilisation prior to transfer to a larger hospital.

This unit is now called the Close Observation Unit, which best reflects its critical post-operative close observation function. Additional endoscopy sessions have already been added at Mersey Community Hospital and will continue.

As announced in 2015, North West birthing services will be consolidated in Burnie to provide a better and safer service for babies and mothers.

This difficult but necessary decision was based on the direct clinical advice from our specialists, with the safety of North West mothers and babies at heart.

A planning committee has been established and is currently determining the most appropriate specific site, corporate and clinical governance and staffing arrangements for the service, including ongoing contract discussions.

No changes will made until the necessary support arrangements are in place, this will ensure that there is no adverse impact on service delivery or patient care during and after the transition period.

Birthing at Mersey will continue until planning and negotiations are finalised and appropriate transitional arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of mothers and babies and to support our staff.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is building a better health system for Tasmanians, with a record investment of more than $6 billion outlined in last year’s state budget.

A stronger role for the Mersey has been made possible by the Government securing record funding of $148.5 million for the Mersey Community Hospital through an agreement with the Commonwealth, almost $30 million more than the Opposition wanted us to ask for.

The Heads of Agreement details a new range of specialist outpatient services for the Mersey and guarantees continuation of the Mersey Emergency Department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As we have consistently said, the Mersey ED will continue to be staffed by fully qualified doctors with specialist training in emergency medicine.

Improving health services is a major focus for the Government this year and we will continue to invest to ensure Tasmanians can access the health care they deserve.

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