I was very disappointed when the Prime Minister refused to do something about the serious problems with the Tasmanian health system. Frankly it’s in crisis, a series of state governments have failed to fix it, and there’s a compelling case for some form of federal intervention.

As I put to the Prime Minister in Parliament today, Tasmania has the slowest ambulance response times of any state, GP bulk billing rates are falling and patients are waiting years for urgent specialist appointments. Doctors tell me that patients are dying while waiting for treatment and the problem is only set to get worse unless something is done.

The AMA, the Royal Hobart Hospital Staff Association and others have all criticised the Tasmanian Government for the way it’s handled the health system. It’s clear that the State Government can’t be trusted and the billions of dollars the Federal Government is spending on Tassie health isn’t getting to those who need it.

It was disingenuous of the Prime Minister to refer to the new funding deal for the Mersey Hospital. This was after all no more than a political fix and one that will continue the reality of too many hospitals, which is part of the State’s underlying problem.