Tasmanian Labor has launched a petition to restore the Mersey Community Hospital’s 24-hour emergency department.
Braddon Labor MP Anita Dow said the latest reduction in the Mersey’s ED operating hours is another setback for the community.
“Health services in the North West were already compromised before COVID-19 which has shone a spotlight on our over-reliance on locums.
“The government’s shock announcement last week of a further downgrading of ED operating hours will have implications for other health services across the region including paramedics, GPs and community nursing services.
“With the ED’s operating hours reduced to 9 am until 6 pm from today, locals have no option but to travel to, or be taken by ambulance to, Burnie or Launceston if they have a medical emergency after business hours.
“That means a longer trip to an unfamiliar place, often without family support.”
Braddon Labor MP Shane Broad said people on the North West coast deserve access to health care when and where they need it, and our health professionals deserve a safe working environment.
“The government has blamed the decision on the lack of locum staff available to work at the Mersey. That’s not a new issue and the government should have been working on a plan to address it before the further complications of COVID-19.
“They had no plan then, and they have no plan now to manage the knock on impact of their decision.
“They’re relying on the goodwill and professionalism of staff at the Launceston General Hospital and the North West Regional Hospital to care for people diverted from the Mersey.
“And they expect them to provide that care with no extra resources and no additional beds. This decision will result in bed block at those hospitals, ambulance ramping and unsustainable working hours for paramedics.
“It’s time the government fixed this crisis once and for all and restored the Mersey’s emergency department to full operation. The North West community deserves better.”
Anita Dow MP
Shane Broad MP
Labor Members for Braddon