Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health
The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the Government’s response to COVID-19, $5 million has previously been allocated towards a Primary Healthcare Support Fund, to ensure our frontline primary healthcare sector could continue to deliver essential primary health services for the community throughout the pandemic.
I am pleased to announce almost $1 million will be provided to Primary Health Tasmania to support its “Building General Practice Readiness and Participation in Tasmania COVID-19 Response” program.
The Program will help general practices with their ongoing outbreak preparedness and management, as well as increasing access to PPE supplies through the purchase and distribution of surgical gowns for clinics. This additional PPE will be added to Outbreak Management Packs – which have been distributed to all 158 general practices across Tasmania by PHT earlier this year, providing a toolkit of information and resources to use in the event of an outbreak.
Primary Health Tasmania will use the funding to work with general practices in targeted areas who have expressed some interest in establishing or increasing COVID-19 assessment and testing, with a focus on building capacity in our rural and regional areas.
The program also involves the engagement of specialist GP consultants to assess practice suitability to undertake routine testing, as well as partnering with the University of Tasmania School of Nursing to provide training in infection prevention and control and use of PPE.
This support follows the Primary Healthcare Grant Program from earlier this year (opened 3 April, closed 24 July) , where $4 million has been distributed to GPs and community pharmacies across the State, with close to 500 grants of up to $10,000 awarded.
This crucial grant funding has successfully helped GPs and pharmacies to boost telehealth and ePharmacy infrastructure, maintain PPE supplies, support social distancing and infection control strategies, training and support for staff, as well as help to support home deliveries of medications or services to vulnerable clients.
This funding demonstrates our clear commitment to continue to work closely and assist the primary healthcare sector to ensure that Tasmanians are able to access the care they need where and when they need it.