Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Health
The introduction of mandatory vaccinations in healthcare settings is about protecting our health workforce and also the vulnerable patients in their care.
It’s a critical step in our vaccination effort and we stand ready to work with any health provider who believes that their services may be impacted.
Access to medical advice and care is something that we know is critical for our regional communities and I have spoken with Central Highlands Mayor Loueen Triffitt in relation to the closure of the Central Highlands General Practice.
The Department of Health has also been in direct contact with the practice, noting it is a privately-run business.
The Department is considering how the State Government may be able to support an alternative provider to operate in the area, including through the continued provision of free premises.
Tasmania’s rural workforce agency HR-Plus has already been engaged to seek interest from alternative providers who may be interested in providing a service to this community. I will be meeting with HR-Plus later this week and the Central Highlands General Practice will be on the agenda.
The Government will continue to engage with the practice as we understand the importance of local GP services being available, particularly in rural communities.
This critical step of mandatory vaccination in healthcare settings is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
We have seen in NSW the devastating impact the virus can have in our healthcare sectors and we must act now and not wait to protect those who work in these settings, to protect their loves ones, patients and the broader community.
The Government has provided a variety of community vaccination clinics across the State, including in regional areas, and will work with the community to ensure vaccinations are available and accessible to people who work in all health settings.
We have already seen a positive outcome in our aged care settings following the direction for mandatory vaccination of aged care workers, with over 99 per cent of this workforce having had a first dose.