As the Mersey Community Hospital Emergency Department reopens around the clock, a second deadline has passed for the report into the North West COVID-19 outbreak to be released.
The government said the report would be handed down first by the end of October and then by the end of November. Now it’s been pushed back to an indeterminate date “before the end of the year”.
Labor Member for Braddon Anita Dow said it was concerning that this further delay follows last week’s Budget Estimates hearing which revealed passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship were allowed into the state without quarantining, despite the advice of Biosecurity Tasmania.
“We know the Ruby Princess was the source of the North West outbreak which tragically cost thirteen Tasmanians their lives,” Ms Dow said.
“As restrictions lift and Tasmania welcomes returnees and interstate visitors, it is extremely important that the findings of the North West inquiry are released for all to see.
The Mersey Community Hospital played an important role during the NW Outbreak as the only hospital open in the North West.
The closure of the Mersey’s Emergency Department, which has operated on limited hours for many months, created more uncertainty at a time when the North West had already endured so much.
Labor welcomes the resumption of 24/7 operation of the Mersey ED today.
“Labor’s petitioning and strong community advocacy for the Mersey ED to be reopened has paid off and the reopening will come as a huge relief to the whole North West community including our hardworking health professionals.
“However it is a timely reminder of the need for the Gutwein Government to work harder to recruit and retain more permanent staff.
“For too long the health and medical needs of the North West Coast have been treated in a piecemeal manner with a heavy reliance on locums.