Senate debates

Monday, 18 October 2021


Tasmania: Health Care

1:46 pm

Photo of Jacqui LambieJacqui Lambie (Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie Network) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] The federal government's promise to all Australians is that we'll get free, high-quality health care whenever we need it—by God, we pay enough taxes! But that's not how things work in Tasmania. Here elderly people die before they can see a doctor in an emergency ward. Here we travel for hours, pay through the nose and wait for weeks before we can see our closest GP. Here thousands of Tasmanians who show up at Launceston General Hospital needing urgent medical care don't get seen on time. That's why Tasmanians rate our health system lower than Australians in any state or territory on the mainland. We have a massive problem down here and it cannot be swept under the rug any longer—no more.

I'll tell you what won't help: the Tassie Liberals' plan to give GPs extra money to charge more patients out-of-pocket costs. That's not going to get us anywhere. Haven't we been trying this for years anyway? It is not fair to our local GPs and specialists who stay here with their children. We're ripping them off. What we should be doing is helping the nurses and doctors who work in our emergency departments. We've got to lower the pressure they're under. We have to give people somewhere else to get medical help, somewhere that isn't in accident and emergency.

This is what I'm proposing: that Launceston, the north-west coast and Hobart should have urgent care centres that provide free medical care, fast. You'd visit the centres for everything from cuts and burns to broken bones, wound dressings and fevers. They'd be run by professional registered nurses and would provide immediate high-quality care seven days a week, including after hours. You wouldn't pay a cent for it either. While you get looked after, the people who need emergency help would get it. Instead of waiting hours in an ambulance on the hospital driveway, they could see the hospital staff who might otherwise have been treating you. Tasmanians should get the quality health care that's promised to every Australian. Urgent care centres are the answer.

For those Tasmanian politicians that haven't seen it, have a look at Canberra's— (Time expired)