Co-located hospital a critical first step to a world-class health system for the north.

Co-located hospital a critical first step to a world-class health system for the north.

Every Tasmanian has a fundamental right to access the health care they need no matter where they live, but sadly that is not the case for many, especially in the north of the state. 

Calvary’s decision not to proceed with its plans to build a co-located private hospital in Launceston is a major set-back for northern Tasmania and the state, but we must not let this critical opportunity go. 

With an election around the corner, it is critical that all candidates commit to working constructively with key stakeholders to identify and secure a suitable operator with the capital to see the co-located project through. 

This is the fundamental first step, but not the only step, to creating one of the best regional health systems in the country, with the ability to attract and retain the highest calibre specialists and researchers to the north of the state. 

St Lukes has been advocating for the development since 2018 and provided critical information to Calvary and the Government about what the proposal needed to deliver in order to meet the needs of the community, based on a major survey of our members.

More than 1,300 residents from northern Tasmania aged 18 to 65 and above participated in the survey.

The quantitative data was compelling, with 92 per cent of members saying it was important for a new private hospital and the LGH to closely co-operate and share resources.

Ninety-three per cent wanted to access care close to home and remain under the care of their GPs and specialists, and 89 per cent wanted to see other services accommodated at the new co-located hospital.

The survey results compelled us to work with stakeholders across the health sector, to ensure the proposal went beyond that of a standalone private operation to one that contributed to delivering the breadth and complexity of essential services desperately needed across the community. 

Since we did this work back in 2020, we’ve seen a record growth in new members as well as a significant increase in people using private services to access elective surgery on a timely basis.  

In fact, the vast majority of elective surgeries are now going through the private system, which significantly eases the burden on the public hospital system. 

Public and private services are interdependent and must support and complement each other to deliver the best outcomes for their communities. 

The new government will need to drive innovative multi-sectoral approaches to deliver an integrated public-private health care model that addresses the diverse needs of the northern Tasmanian community. 

St Lukes is committed to working constructively with both private and public operators to ensure we deliver the best health care we can, combining the advantages of both systems for the benefit of the community.

Every Tasmanian deserves access to the right care in the right setting. The co-located hospital is the critical first step to achieving this. 

Paul Lupo is the CEO of Tasmanian not-for-profit health insurer St Lukes.