Health reform welcomed

Changes. As of July 1, the Tasmanian health system has operated as one, with the statewide health white paper released late last month.

Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam has welcomed the release in noting the positives for the region, while Smithton District Hospital director of nursing/site manager Sharan McLaren has said “it is business as usual” for now.

“There is no change to services at the moment . . . and no jobs have been lost,” Mrs McLaren said, though added that change is inevitable.

“The purpose of the white paper is to support the development of new integrated services to address service gaps and promote better outcomes for patients, but these changes will take time to implement.

“All changes outlined in the white paper – like birthing services – require planning, collaboration and consultation to ensure that the service models of care are transparent, robust and achievable.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done and some of this will take months if not a year or two, so it’s business as usual.”

Smithton District Hospital opened at its current location on Brittons Road in 1963 and now has close to 50 staff.

In a joint statement with Waratah-Wynyard Mayor Robby Walsh, Cr Quilliam said both mayors agree that centralising maternity services at the North West Regional Hospital is the best outcome for the Cradle Coast region.

“I am pleased that Health Minister Michael Ferguson has listened and taken into consideration the distances travelled by our residents,” Cr Quilliam said.

“It is particularly important for people living in regional areas to have access to maternity services, including from places such as Marrawah, the West Coast and King Island.”

Cr Quilliam said it was pleasing to see politics taken out of such decisions.

“We are thankful that Minister Ferguson has consulted widely on these health reforms and I believe this is a good decision not only for Circular Head, but also the region,” he said.

“I am also thankful that the Smithton District Hospital will be retained.”

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