The Hodgman Liberal Government is working hard to deliver better health outcomes for all Tasmanians. Last year we commissioned an independent feasibility study into the concept of a standalone hospice facility in Launceston.

I recently received that report and I am pleased to release it today for public awareness. Grosvenor Management Consulting won the tender with a brief to test feasibility without any predetermined views.

The study concluded that the current number of inpatient palliative care beds in Northern Tasmania is sufficient to meet demand now and for the next two decades. It also found that there was a high level of satisfaction with both rural palliative care sites (For example: Scottsdale, George Town, Campbell Town) and the palliative care services provided by Calvary Health Care at the 15-bed Melwood Unit in Launceston’s St Lukes Hospital.

The study recommended that only one inpatient palliative care service was operated in Launceston, and indicated it is not feasible or viable for a standalone hospice facility to operate in conjunction with the existing 15-bed facility.

It also recommended that inpatient palliative care services continue to be delivered within the rural palliative care sites throughout Northern Tasmania, as well as by the Melwood Unit.

In all, the study made 12 conclusions and eight recommendations, including taking opportunities to increase coordination, collaboration and understanding of existing services, as well as conducting awareness raising activities to increase community understanding of the Melwood Unit’s value and capability as a high-quality palliative care facility.

The State Government will take some time to fully consider the report’s findings before providing a further response.

I thank the many groups and individuals who have taken the time to contribute to the study and provide valuable insights and information.

I understand that people are passionate about palliative care in Northern Tasmania, which was why this study was commissioned. In acknowledging this, we also recognise that the key recommendations of the feasibility study will be disappointing for those who have so strongly and positively pushed for a standalone hospice facility, with my in-principle support.

The State Government is committed to ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to a balanced range of palliative care options into the future. Of course, any options pursued must be informed by the best available evidence.

The Northern Hospice Feasibility Study can be found here:

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