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Agreement Signed for Extra Elective Surgery For Tasmanians

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, has announced that the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments have signed an agreement that will deliver at least 2,600 additional elective surgery operations in Tasmania.

The first additional elective surgery procedures are expected to be undertaken before the end of September.

The Commonwealth Government will invest $30.5 million over four years, as part of its $325 million Tasmanian Health Assistance Package, for additional elective surgery targeting areas that have large numbers of patients who have waited longer than the clinically recommended time.

“The Agreement will not only provide elective surgery for patients who have been waiting the longest, but will also help to ease the burden on Tasmania’s public hospital system,” said Ms Plibersek.

“We will focus on knee and hip replacements, cataract removals, gall bladder removals and hernia repairs.

“This elective surgery package has been developed in consultation with Tasmanian hospitals and frontline health professionals to ensure that it targets areas of most need.

“We want to ensure that Tasmanians get the health services when and where they need them,” she said.

As part of the first-year action plan being developed between both governments and frontline clinicians, Tasmania will be provided with $8.8 million in 2012-13 to fund a minimum of 500 additional operations.

Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom MP, and Senator for Tasmania, Anne Urquhart, welcomed the announcement that important elective surgeries will soon commence.

“The global financial crisis hit the Tasmanian state budget hard. The cuts to health were felt across our community and with my Labor colleagues, I lobbied strongly for additional resources,” said Sid Sidebottom.

“Tasmanian patients who are overdue for their surgery and who are in the greatest need will soon receive their operation,”

“These additional surgeries will provide immediate positive outcomes for these patients, their families and carers.”

Senator Urquhart said that we are developing a detailed Action Plan to confirm the range of surgical procedures to be undertaken in the first year of the package.

“There will be procedures performed across all four of Tasmania’s major hospitals, targeting those surgical categories where local patients are experiencing the longest waiting times beyond the clinically recommended period,” said Senator Urquhart.

“Tasmania’s overdue elective surgery list for accounts for 20 per cent of the national total. This is a disproportionately large share given we have just two per cent of the national population.

“This announcement today will see action flow over coming months to treat patients who have been waiting too long for their surgery.”

The $325 million Tasmanian Health Assistance Package was announced by Ms Plibersek on 15 June 2012. In addition to the elective surgery boost, it will also include the delivery of multi-disciplinary, community based palliative care services, as well as a clinical redesign project to enable the Tasmanian health system to better cope with current pressures and meet future challenges.

Ms Plibersek today also announced the establishment of the new Commission on Delivery of Health Services in Tasmania. The Commission has been set up to find ways to reform the Tasmanian health system so it can be more sustainable and independent of Commonwealth intervention.

“The Commission will monitor implementation of the Assistance Package. It will also give independent advice to the Australian Government and the Tasmanian Government on how services can be improved,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Both our governments want improvements that will achieve real and sustained reform of Tasmania’s health system.”

Ms Plibersek announced that the Chair of the Commission will be the former Health Commissioner of Western Australia, Mr Alan Bansemer.

The other members of the Commission will be Tasmanian physician Dr Alasdair MacDonald and medical practitioner and lawyer Dr Heather Wellington.

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