The challenges facing the public health system in Tasmania are difficult and many.
We are the sickest state with the most work to do to lift the health system up to national and international standards.
We have deep social and economic impediments to wellness, like lower incomes, decentralised populations, lower education levels and a lack of effective public transport.
We have a narrow tax base with a high reliance on federal funding.
And we have a history of weak political leadership that perpetuates the inefficiencies of three states within one and struggles to overcome the widespread community suspicion of reform.
All of the health challenges confronting Tasmania can be overcome.
But we need better political leaders who understand there is no more important role for government than the delivery of world-class health services.
We need to safeguard our fair share of federal health funding.
We need to help make Tasmanians much healthier.
We need to keep unwell Tasmanians out of hospital with better primary, allied and home nursing services, including palliative care and mental health services.
And we need continuing reform to diminish the inefficiencies of replicating everything three times across the State.
My commitment to Tasmanian health is evidenced by me securing $340m for the rebuilding of the Royal Hobart Hospital and an additional $325m for the delivery of health services throughout the State.
I also established the parliamentary allied health group and am a part of the RHH Professional Reference Group.
I will continue to focus on health care, and oppose changes that target people on low incomes, like the GP co-payment.
I will continue to champion the importance of primary and allied health care as well as mental health services.
I will continue to raise the difficult issues other politicians run from, for instance the benefit for all Tasmanians of closing one of the three northern Tasmanian hospitals.
- GP co-payment
- Medicinal cannabis
- Mental health
- Allied health
- Private health insurance
- Royal Hobart Hospital
Andrew supports the right of the terminally ill to have safe and reliable access to medically-assisted suicide. He supports dying with dignity legislation, provided it contains appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse and abuse.
Andrew opposes any GP co-payment and will continue to pressure the Government to not diminish the Medicare rebate paid to GPs which enables bulk billing. Introducing a co-payment and cutting the Medicare rebate would disproportionately impact people on low incomes and the sick, and be a significant step towards dismantling Australia’s free public health system.
Andrew strongly supports vaccination and government programs that provide incentives to having children vaccinated but he does not, as a general rule, support punitive measures to promote public health.
Andrew has lobbied the Government repeatedly to take immediate action to address Australia’s grossly under-funded mental health system. Moreover he is strongly supportive of the Mental Health Commission’s blueprint for deep reform of the sector and has pressed the Government to quickly implement it.
Andrew intervened and secured funding from the Federal Government to retain the Psychiatric Emergency Nurse program at the Royal Hobart Hospital when it was scheduled to be discontinued.
Allied health care is an important early intervention healthcare measure that improves public health and saves tax payer dollars in the long term. He is concerned that despite all of this the sector is undervalued and poorly funded.
Andrew has joined dentistry and optometry professionals in the media to warn of the disastrous effect cuts to allied health funding will have on the health of Tasmanians. He has lobbied the Federal Minister to reverse these cuts in the next budget.
Andrew established and is a co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Rural and Remote Allied Health.
Andrew supported the means-testing of the Private Health Insurance Rebate but doesn’t agree with the elimination of the Rebate on the Lifetime Health Cover loading because it has a disproportionate impact on older Australians, particularly those on low incomes.
Andrew secured $340m in federal funding for the Royal Hobart Hospital as part of his negotiations after the 2010 election. He was a vocal critic of the previous State Government for botching the project and for creating excessive delays, but is pleased that the current State Government appear to have got things back on track and that things are finally progressing. Andrew sits on the Royal Hobart Hospital Task Force Professional Reference Group helping to make sure the $657m rebuild is finally delivered.