On the eve of the delivery of the Tasmanian State Budget, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the Tasmanian Government must accept responsibility for the state of Tasmania’s public hospitals.
In Federal Parliament on Wednesday Mr Turnbull made it clear that Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman could not expect the Federal Government to step in.
Despite Tasmania hardly rating a mention in the 2017 Federal Budget and missing out entirely on the national $75 billion infrastructure package, Mr Turnbull told MPs his Government provided Tasmania with enough money to “enable the State Government to deliver” public hospital services.
“Tasmania’s public hospital system is in crisis,” said Federal Labor Lyons MP Brian Mitchell.
“Tasmanians are not interested in squabbling between the Federal and State Liberal Governments over who’s to blame, they just want it fixed.
“Waiting lists are out of control, ambulances are ramped for hours and sick patients are being sent home because the hospitals are over capacity – and we aren’t even in peak flu season.”
Mr Mitchell said both Mr Turnbull and Mr Hodgman were failing Tasmanians’ health.
“Under Malcolm Turnbull, Tasmania has the second-lowest bulk billing rate for GPs in the country, and new data shows that since last July’s federal election, bulk billing for GPs has dropped another 2.4%.
“Tasmania’s health system is in crisis, with hospital doctors in revolt over management dysfunction, and Mr Turnbull is making it worse by keeping the Medicare rebate freeze in place for the next three years.
“The freeze drives up the cost of going to the doctor – it’s gone up $5.90 per visit since the Liberals were elected – so Tasmanians are opting to instead attend already stretched hospital emergency departments for treatment.”
“Mr Turnbull and Mr Hodgman should be working together to fix Tasmania’s health crisis, not squabble over who’s to blame.”
BRIAN MITCHELL MP FEDERAL LABOR MEMBER FOR LYONS