MEDIA RELEASE: Communities hold the key to addressing health outcomes

6 November 2020

The State Government’s commitment, as outlined in the Our Healthcare Future reform agenda, to tackling long-standing health challenges has the potential to improve the lives of Tasmanians living on low incomes and in rural and regional areas of our state.

TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone said today’s announcement signals a welcome shift to investment in primary health care to prevent hospitalisations.

“Lengthy elective surgery waiting lists and overburdened emergency rooms are symptoms of a broader issue in Tasmania — lack of equitable access to primary health care,” Ms Picone said.

“We know effective solutions to our overburdened hospital system will not be found in our hospitals but, instead, within our communities.

“Tasmanians are presenting to Emergency Departments because for many reasons they haven’t been able to get the care they need in their local community. For example, many bulk billing GPs can’t take on any new patients and lack of access to transport means it is hard to travel further afield to get health care.

“The only way to solve these issues is by bringing accessible, affordable and timely primary health care to Tasmanians when and where they need it.”

Ms Picone said as we rebuild from COVID-19, good governments turn their attention to building the resilience of their population.

“It is the first step towards acknowledging the inequity of our current health system where Tasmanians living in the poorest neighbourhood die on average 18 years earlier than those living in our most advantaged neighbourhood.

“Tasmanians have told us that a healthy mind and body is a key ingredient to a good life. This announcement will bring us closer to ensuring that all Tasmanians, regardless of postcode or income level, can get the health care they need.”

TasCOSS encourages all Tasmanians to engage in the consultation process to give their views on what health care you need and how you can best access it. The voices of Tasmanians, particularly in rural and remote areas, will be essential to the design of a health care model that meets the needs and expectations of the community.


Preventing hospitalisations in Tasmania: TasCOSS 2020/21 Budget Priorities Statement proposes a proven model of wrap-around, connected health and social care that draws on existing resources to prevent hospitalisations, relieve the suffering of thousands of Tasmanians living on low incomes and provide an additional source of funding to the state health system via Medicare.

TasCOSS estimates there could be as much as $100 million available to the state through the range of available Commonwealth-funded care plans — from the NDIS to mental health, diabetes and aged care home support packages.


Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview with TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone:

  • Cameron Allen, 0419 769 253 or via email.