Yesterday’s confirmation that Your Hobart Doctor will take over primary health services at Greenpoint Medical Centre in Bridgewater is welcomed.
What is not welcomed is today’s behaviour of Tasmanian health minister Guy Barnett who has shamelessly politicised the issue.
Mr Barnett has been doing the media rounds claiming the Tasmanian government has “stepped in” because the federal government did not.
He is wrong, and he knows he is wrong. It is important to set the record straight.
Since being notified by me, as the local federal MP, of IPN’s December 8 deadline the Federal Government has been working actively to save the clinic through HR Plus Tasmania (HR+) - the Tasmanian branch of the Rural Workforce Agency (RWA) - and Primary Health Tasmania (PHT), which are federally funded.
The federal health department also worked closely with the Greenpoint Medical Centre to address difficulties this private practice was experiencing to find a solution to ensure continued access to services in the community.
The Commonwealth, through HR+ engaged with the community to advise of work being done to help remedy the situation. This involved both a community meeting and numerous phone calls with community representatives.
HR+ and PHT supported Your Hobart Doctor to connect with IPN to facilitate transition of the practice and provided support to Your Hobart Doctor to better understand community needs and what would be required to establish sustainable services in the region.
As the local federal MP I made numerous calls to the office of the federal health minister to provide and seek updates and advice and held meetings with stakeholders including potential providers, community members and the landlords.
PHT and the RWA are currently exploring additional support for Your Hobart Doctor, including support with recruitment, to ensure it is well placed to establish a sustainable practice and that existing staff are supported through any transition.
The new practice will be called Jordan River Health Services and will commence service delivery from Monday 11 December 2023.
The number of services that will be available and delivered through the new practice, including operating hours, will be for Your Health Doctor to determine, through consultation with the local community. It has indicated it intends to expand opening hours, explore the delivery of more services and employ more doctors and nurses.
I have consistently maintained that the best solutions are found when people work together and pull in the same direction. A lot of people have put in a lot of time and energy to secure this outcome - including members of the Bridgewater community - so it is very disappointing that Minister Barnett has sought to shamelessly politicise it and falsely imply the federal government has not done its fair share.
I have outlined above the role the federal government has played. I am sure we would all like to see Minister Barnett outline precisely what role he has played to validate his claim that he “stepped in”.
Losing this clinic was never an acceptable option for me nor the community I represent: the most important thing is that it has been saved, and that is a victory for the people of Bridgewater.