News, media releases

Labor will bring back essential health services including maternity and permanent medical staff to the Mersey Community Hospital

  • Labor will expand clinical services and establish the Mersey as a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care
  • Labor will ensure high-quality clinical care for the north-west community
  • Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver better health outcomes

The Mersey Community Hospital will be transformed into a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care under a Majority Labor Government.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor’s vision would see the Mersey Hospital take advantage of its unique position as a national leader in high-quality clinical care, build on its regional and rural health workforce and deliver additional funding for building upgrades.

“The Mersey Community Hospital provides critical health care to the community,” Ms White said.

“Across the north-west the importance of the Mersey and North-West Regional Hospital cannot be underestimated and Labor has a plan to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Tasmanians for decades to come.

“Labor will invest $2.5 million towards establishing the National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care and an additional $5 million for capital works at the Mersey.

“It’s critical that maternity services are delivered at the Mersey. It’s critical that this hospital delivers for the north west community after the Gutwein Government disgracefully abandoned both staff and patients with its cruel cuts to resources and their neglect.”

Shadow Minister for Health Dr Bastian Seidel said these investments would compliment Labor’s plan to employ an additional five full-time and permanent specialist medical doctors in specialties such as General Medicine, General Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Additionally, the emergency department will be staffed by two additional Emergency Medicine Specialists. Labor is also funding an additional 15 permanent positions for nurses and midwives at the Mersey Community Hospital.

As a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care, the Mersey will also become the statewide training hub for Rural Generalist Doctors with specialist skills in Obstetrics, Anesthesiology, Emergency Care, Mental Health and Palliative Care, as well as Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Endoscopists.

Labor also announced an additional 10 permanent medical specialist positions at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie as well as two additional FTE permanent emergency medicine positions.

Labor is also committed to provide $7.5 million to integrate maternity care with all other publicly available medical services at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie. This will ensure the return of highly accessible, publicly funded and comprehensive and continuous care which will improve outcomes for mothers and children in the North West.

“The Latrobe community is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Tasmania and it is only right that health services are in place to match this population growth,” Dr Seidel said.

“The future of our north-west public hospitals is now.

“The awful truth is the Liberal Government – with Peter Gutwein as Treasurer before he was gifted the Premiership – not only failed to fund the Mersey Hospital, but in fact ripped funding away making it near impossible for dedicated frontline staff to do their jobs.

“Healthcare needs are ever evolving and planning and consultation with the community needs to be genuine and meaningful.

“For seven years the Liberals have watched over a health system in crisis and Tasmanians cannot afford another four years of this government that is prepared to do nothing while more than 50,000 Tasmanians wait for an appointment to see a specialist and more than 12,000 wait in pain and often impossible circumstances for necessary surgery.

“Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to ensure better health outcomes for everyone, no matter where they live.”

Rebecca White MP
Labor Leader

Dr Bastian Seidel MLC
Shadow Health Minister