Tenders will be called within the next month for works to upgrade the much loved 4K children’s ward at the Launceston General Hospital following final approval of the Liberal Government funding and development plans.

I was pleased to meet with staff and parents of young patients yesterday to view design plans which represent the first major upgrade of the paediatric ward since it was built more than 30 years ago.

The project will see ward 4K upgraded and expanded to meet the clinical needs of acutely ill children as well as provide a much better environment for recovery.

For the first time the ward will have a purpose-built High Dependency Unit for the care of acutely unwell children.

Additional space developed for the ward will allow for the separation of younger children and teenagers, with facilities more appropriate for their care needs.

In line with the Liberal Government’s historic health White Paper and our Rethink Mental Health plan, the upgrade will also incorporate Tasmania’s first specialised adolescent and child mental health unit.  Tasmania has never had such a facility before and this represents a major uplift in service quality for young people with mental illnesses who need acute care.

Included in the redevelopment project will be more single rooms and isolation areas for better infection control.

All rooms will have ensuite bathrooms. A family area with lounge and kitchen will be a more home-like and welcoming environment for families and visitors – who play a significant role in the recovery of young children and need to be supported.

We are also ensuring there is capacity for future demand by increasing the size of the buildings.

I’m really excited about the upgrade of ward 4K because I believe every Tasmanian deserves to have access to the best available care, especially our youngest patients.

This has been talked about for years, but it took a majority Liberal government to have the strength to change old health system thinking and plan for the future.

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