Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie and Devonport Mayor, Steve Martin have met with both the Liberal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Labor opposition Shadow Health minister Catherine King in an effort to lock in long-term federal funding for the Mersey Community Hospital.
Senator Lambie and Mayor Martin spoke about the meetings at Parliament house on Thursday 16.2.17
"Last week during Federal Parliament, I organised separate meetings between Devonport Mayor Steve Martin, new Health Minister Greg Hunt, and Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, where Mayor Martin and myself were guaranteed bipartisan long-term funding solutions for the Mersey Community Hospital." said Senator Lambie.
"This is a great step forward. We left both meetings feeling that it's not a matter of if but when the Mersey long-term funding will be confirmed. I urge the new Health Minister Greg Hunt to follow through on our very positive conversation and quickly reveal a long-term commitment and funding solution for the Mersey Community Hospital." said Senator Lambie.
"The recurring two-year funding model is inefficient and creates uncertainty within the community. The current deal means the Mersey Community Hospital runs out of funding in June this year. The clock is ticking on this deal. The staff and community deserve certainty for their future and are understandably nervous about the security of their region's health and economy.
One fact that all sides of politics can't run away from, is that under the current state and federal Liberal's heath plan - acute medical services have decreased in the N/NW region of Tasmania.
For example, ICU beds have been taken away - and patients needing intensive care, are being transferred to Launceston and Hobart, while those cities' public hospitals are overcrowded and in crisis.
Critically injured and sick N/NW residents' lives are being placed more at risk because of the Liberal's decrease in acute hospital services in our region and the added reliance on patient transfer to make up for the decrease in basic health services." said Senator Lambie.
Alderman Martin said: "The impression I got from the Minister for Health Greg Hunt was there will be an announcement made very shortly and we will be more than happy with the term and the outcome will be a lot longer than we are used to. So that's a very positive thing."
"I would certainly hope the Mersey is running on $72 million per annum right now, that level is not only kept but increased by CPI," Alderman Martin said.