Labor promises 144 new paramedics, 10 extended hour GP centres and two new paramedic stations

HEALTH: Labor leader Rebecca White is promising a $167 million ambulance strategy under the party's governance. Picture: Craig George
 HEALTH: Labor leader Rebecca White is promising a $167 million ambulance strategy under the party’s governance. Picture: Craig George

The Labor Party is promising to employ an additional 144 paramedics and establish 10 general practice extended care centres as part of its $167 million ambulance strategy.

It promises 24/7 paramedic coverage at all Tasmanian ambulance stations, 144 new full-time paramedics, new double branch stations in Channel and Oakdowns and the establishment of 10 GP extended care centres around the state.

Labor leader Rebecca White said it was unacceptable more than 400 Tasmanians a year died waiting for an ambulance and her party would work to address this through its ambulance strategy to reduce ramping and improve regional/rural health care.

“To complement this, we will create an Emergency Tasmania Digital Health Hub to provide Tasmanians with access to emergency medical advice 24/7,” she said.

“Labor will also establish 10 GP extended care centres open from 8am-8pm for up to seven days a week to take pressure off the emergency departments by giving Tasmanians better access to urgent care in the community.”

Two extended care GP centres are proposed in each electorate, where demand is most needed.

Labor’s health spokesman Bastian Seidel said the extended care centre would mean patients could access urgent care at GP practices after hours and on weekends.

“We are committing to fund GP practices to offer that service. We are also committed to employ paramedic practitioners at each and every one of those extended care centres,” Dr Seidel said.

“We will ensure patients are being bulk billed by introducing a Medicare match scheme to match the Medicare rebate. It means no patient who presents to a GP extended care centres will be out of pocket to seek medical care.

“It’s going to make a huge difference to all Tasmanians who are seeking urgent care, who would otherwise end up presenting in [the] emergency department.”

The announcement is in addition to the $197 million announced on Saturday to upgrade 17 rural hospitals and provide 24/7 care at 30 community health centres.

Dr Seidel said these pledges would operate alongside their plans to support the co-located private hospital next to the Launceston General Hospital.

The Greens and Liberal Party have released their own health packages.

The Greens are promising 50 full-time-equivalent allied health practitioners around the state and would provide $3 million a year toward preventative health and community-run initiatives.

The Liberals are promising to fast-tract the co-located private hospital, an additional $120 million to increase elective surgeries and endoscopies, to employ an additional 280 full-time equivalent hospital staff, provide a one-off $20 million to private hospitals, and an additional $52 million for in-home and local community-deliver health services.