Tas Labor pledges to fix health ‘crisis’

TASMANIA STATE ELECTIONLabor has pledged to fix Tasmania’s health “crisis”, while Premier Will Hodgman spruiked a timber mill on the second day of campaigning for the March 3 election.
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After declaring health Labor’s number one priority, leader Rebecca White on Tuesday announced a flagship $560 million six-year package aimed at recruiting more doctors and nurses and reducing emergency waiting times.

“Thousands of Tasmanians have been affected by the crisis in health and many, many more have a loved one who has been affected,” she said outside a health clinic in the Franklin electorate.

“It’s time to say ‘enough is enough’.”

Labor plans to recruit 500 health staff, put $75 million towards improving wait times for outpatients and update the plan for the state’s four major hospitals.

Hospital infrastructure would get $250 million, while $8 million is to be spent on ambulances.

A recent Productivity Commission report found Tasmanians wait the longest for ambulances in , with the average response time ballooning to more than half an hour.

Liberal Health Minister Michael Ferguson spruiked Tasmania’s health system though, saying elective surgery times were improving under the Liberal government.

But Ms White accused Mr Ferguson of “cherry picking” data from the latest Report on Government Services.

“Our health workers across Tasmania have had a very different experience,” Ms White said.

“What he hasn’t acknowledged is that there are 30,000 people waiting to get on the elective surgery waiting list.”

The premier, meanwhile, spent a second consecutive day in the state’s north.

He announced a $190 million hardwood mill plant for Burnie that would create 221 jobs.

Mr Hodgman said the Liberals health policy would be revealed in coming weeks.

“I will make the point again that in successive budgets we have put more into health than Labor and the Greens ever did,” he said.

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