Mersey emergency department to reopen 24/7

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health

I am delighted to announce that the Mersey Community Hospital Emergency Department will resume 24-hour service from Monday 30 November.

The number one priority for the Tasmanian Health Service and the Tasmanian Government is always the safety of patients, and the decision to reduce hours at the Mersey ED was one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make during a year of extremely tough decisions.

I thank all of our hardworking health system staff for their incredible efforts during this time, as well as the community for their patience and understanding as we have worked through these challenges.

The recommencement of 24/7 emergency services at the Mersey has been underpinned by the recruitment of three permanent senior staff specialists and five long-term locums. These staff are all supporting the delivery of ED services across the North West coast.

Concerted recruitment efforts are ongoing for permanent roles but we know that rural and regional health services recruitment is an ongoing challenge around the country. COVID-19 has made this even more difficult.

This is why we are focused on further recruitment of permanent staff and building a workforce at the Mersey which provides appropriate support for the ED over the longer term.

This ongoing work will include consideration and consultation on building on our nurse practitioner and rural generalist emergency specialist workforce, to help deliver more workforce security for the Mersey, as well as developing better training and education for our ED nurses and local doctors. These opportunities can further support a range of services like ED, palliative care and community general practice.

We understand that there will be many people in the community who will be relieved at the resumption of a 24/7 emergency department service at the MCH, and we again thank them for their support during this time.

The Mersey is an important part of Tasmania’s health care system that delivers crucial health services for the North West community.

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