It is not an election promise but a commitment, opposition leader Rebecca White said when announcing a $10 million integrated care centre.
Speaking from Victoria Parade on Thursday, Ms White said if the Labor party forms government at the next election, it will commit to funding the establishment of a an all in centre that will bring primary care, allied health and outpatient services into the same precinct.
“The North-West Coast does not have an integrated care centre and we see this as a gap in service delivery,” Ms White said.
Committed in the party’s economic directions statement, Ms White said the centre would ensure the best health care infrastructure was available in Devonport.
“It will be a place that will bring together a lot of health services along the coast already, but that are provided from a lot of different locations,” she said.
“We are talking about allied health services – podiatry, mental health, out patient clinics – where people can access services in a convenient location alongside a lot of other service.”
Ms White said the funds would be taken from an allocation that will be made from the infrastructure budget.
“It is not a redirection from spending in any other area of health, but new money we will commit,” she said.
Ms White said the centre would utilise staff already in the area.
“It wouldn’t be shutting down other providers but would provide a location for all of them to work out of collaboratively,” she said.
Ms White said currently the services are being run out of ‘old buildings’.
“We need to make sure we provide quality places for staff to work out of,” she said.
Ms White said the model of care is one that is already in place and successfully operating in other areas of Tasmania.
She said any designs and locations would have to meet community expectation and would be don through consultation with the the local community.
Labor MP for Braddon Shane Broad joined Ms White on the announcement.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said Ms White was offering false hope with the announcement of the centre.
“[Their] own 2012 costings of the project put it at $18.5 million and similar centres being built under the Hodgman Liberal Government now are in vicinity of $20 million, so there is no way they could build one for $10 million,” Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson said the party announced an integrated care centre in 2007 but the promise was “broken”.
Labor MP for Braddon Dr Shane Broad joined the announcement.
This piece was first seen on ‘The Advocate’ 3 Aug 2017.