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Tasmanians need answers on what health services will be cancelled next

The Gutwein Government and Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff need to show honesty and transparency now as the rapid escalation of COVID cases in Tasmania impacts on the state’s already overburdened health system.

Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said with staff shortages across the health and hospital system already affecting child health and parenting services, elective surgery, outpatient appointments and COVID testing and vaccine capacity, Mr Rockliff owed Tasmanians an explanation about what services would be impacted next.

“The Gutwein Government and Mr Rockliff clearly did not do the essential planning to ensure that our health system was able to cope when they opened the borders to COVID-19 four weeks ago,” Ms Dow said.

“With another 1,583 new COVID cases reported yesterday, more than 8,700 active cases and 22 people now in hospital, the situation is continuing to escalate and with staff being transferred to COVID duties from other critical areas, the impact is only going to become more severe.

“Labor calls on Mr Rockliff to be upfront and transparent and tell Tasmanians which services will be the next to go.

“We already have historically high numbers of Tasmanians waiting for elective surgery and oral health treatment.

“Our health professionals are doing a tireless job but they are working in a health system that was already at breaking point before the arrival of COVID  and were already short-staffed.

“Mr Rockliff had months to prepare to ensure they were not pushed further toward breaking point.

“He needs to support our health care workers, be honest with them, release the surge capacity staffing modelling and outline the government’s plan now to manage further staff shortages across our health system.

“Mr Rockliff repeatedly told Tasmanians he had recruited 870 additional health staff and additional recruitment was underway in his COVID hospital preparedness plan.

“However, the fact is they are still recruiting now, transferring staff from other important services and were not prepared and Mr Rockliff needs to be taking every precaution to keep our health workforce safe.”

Anita Dow MP
Shadow Health Minister