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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, joined Dr Frances Rose and Dr Marita Jones to voice their deep concerns with the State Government’s response to the closure of St Helen’s Private Hospital mother and baby unit, and discuss the potential solutions he is exploring with interstate service providers as well as the Federal Health Minister.

“Sadly the Tasmanian health system continues to lurch from crisis to crisis, with the latest shocking episode being the announcement by Healthscope that they’re closing St Helen’s Hospital in Hobart,” Mr Wilkie said. “St Helen’s provides of range of important mental health services and, importantly, is Tasmania’s only private inpatient mother and baby unit.

“Yes, the State Government has announced some extra mother and baby services at the Royal Hobart Hospital. But they’ll be limited to a handful of beds that will be only accessible for public psychiatry patients, and there will be no services available for private referrals from paediatricians and GPs.

“I raised this matter with the Premier more than a month ago to express my concerns, but was appalled by the entirely inadequate solution he announced since then that will restrict desperately needed access to care to only a small fraction of struggling families. I’m now exploring solutions with interstate providers as well as the Federal Minister for Health, Mark Butler (please see letter below). It’s vital Tasmanians have access to short term relief and the Government’s current plan for mothers and their babies does not accommodate that.”