Tasmania must not be short-changed on urgent care clinics

Guy Barnett, Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Tasmanian Government will fight to ensure it receives its fair share of the 29 new urgent care clinics (UCCs) announced by the Federal Labor Government.

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Guy Barnett, expressed concern that funding for an additional 29 urgent care clinics around Australia is grossly inadequate, and based on current allocations, Tasmania could receive as few as one additional UCC.

“This is completely insufficient to meet the challenges of increasing demand on our healthcare system, noting Federal Labor’s underfunding of GPs,” said Mr Barnett.

“This has been driving more people to our hospital emergency departments and has repeatedly forced the state to step in and shore up GP availability as practices come under threat of closure.

“The 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future commits to delivering more bulk-billed Urgent Care Centres for Tasmanians.

“There have been promising indicators in the initial state and federal-funded rollout of urgent care clinics in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, with tens of thousands of patients diverted from Tasmanian emergency departments.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Government has already partnered in one centre, and a fifth Urgent Care Centre at Newstead in Launceston has been solely funded by a Tasmanian Liberal Government.

“Right now in Tasmania there are multiple areas with identified need for bulk-billed urgent care clinics.

“We have already written to the Federal Labor Government seeking Centres in growing regional areas like Sorell, Kingston, Bridgewater, as well as in Burnie and Launceston – to get more Urgent Care Centres, as Tasmanians deserve.

“The Tasmanian Government has been putting the case to Federal Labor for months that there should be funding for at least five new locations to support Tasmania’s needs.

“Federal Labor announced the extra funding in December last year but has been sitting on its hands – we want action now.

“We will continue to fight to for the healthcare that Tasmanians need and deserve.”

/Public Release. View in full here.