The announcement late last night of a further reduction in the operating hours at the Mersey Community Hospital’s emergency department has shocked the North West community.
Labor Member for Braddon Anita Dow said the North West community and hardworking health professionals had endured an extremely difficult time with significant pressures on, and changes to, health services during the NW COVID outbreak.
“To issue a press release late at night announcing further cuts to operating hours is very disappointing, when the Minister for Health could have provided an update to the Parliament and to the community directly,” Ms Dow said.
“The government has blamed the decision on the lack of locum staff available to work at the Mersey, yet this is not a new issue and the government should have been working on a plan to address it before the further complications of COVID.
“The government said it would work with Ambulance Tasmania to ensure they have adequate resources to support the change – why wasn’t this done prior to making the decision?”
Labor Member for Braddon Shane Broad said Health Minister Sarah Courtney had failed to provide certainty about a date for the emergency department to return to full operation.
“The Minister for Health says she cares about the North West and the Mersey Community Hospital, yet is continually downgrading services, and failing to answer basic questions.
“Sending vulnerable patients further away to emergency departments that are already facing their own pressure isn’t demonstrating care – it is treating them with contempt, and increasing pressure on health services right across the north of the state.
“The Government needs to commit to a date to restore the emergency department to full operation. The community has been calling out for, and deserves, answers.”
Anita Dow MP & Shane Broad MP
Labor Members for Braddon