Health

Health


Our Vision
Tasmanians have universal access to timely, accessible and effective health services and a State Government that focuses on health promotion, prevention and early intervention to improve quality of life and long term health outcomes for everyone.

We can achieve this by:
• Increasing investment in preventative health to 5% of the total health budget by 2020.
• Establishing independent and transparent oversight of preventative health, including stronger engagement with community
• Addressing health inequities using a Health in All Policies, and
• Promoting greater engagement and collaboration between health and non-health providers to support greater health outcomes.

Preventative Health


Labor


Policy

Labor’s preventative health policies include:

  • A Healthy Communities Commission ($20M)
  • A health-in-all-policies approach
  • Subsidised nicotine replacement treatments for health care card holders
  • A one-year trial of free influenza vaccinations.
  • Lifting immunisation rates of Tasmanian children,
  • A pilot program to encourage kids’ participation in sport
  • and more accountable reporting in HealthStats produced by Tasmanian Government.

Rating
Rating Justification

The proposed Healthy Communities Commission could provide tangible benefits and has funding attached, and should help make preventative health a priority within the government. The policy is future-focussed.

There is ample evidence that a priority on preventative health leads to better overall population health outcomes, and as such these polices has a strong evidence base.

These policies further have a strong equity commitment, as chronic diseases are more prevalent among people with disadvantaged backgrounds.

We welcome the investment made in preventative mental health through funding for the Rural Alive & Well program.

Liberal


Policy

The Liberals have committed $1.1m per annum for preventative health from 2020-2021, which is close to double the current funding level of $650,000. Although a large relative increase, this falls well short of the investment required in preventative health to shift the health outcomes of Tasmanians. The Liberals have also committed to a $6.6m Tasmanian Community Health Fund, which will support local additions to state-wide preventative health initiatives.

Other relevant funding includes $870K over two years for the Good Sport Program, $10M over two for the upgrading of women’s sporting facilities, and $6.6m into Neighbourhood Houses over three years.


Rating
Rating Justification

The headline expenditure on preventative health does not appear adequate for achieving the goals of the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Plan, which state Tasmania will be the healthiest state in Australia by 2025.

It is well known that the burden of chronic illnesses falls disproportionately on disadvantaged people and regions. The Tasmanian Community Health Fund could help to ameliorate this low spend in preventative health in disadvantaged communities.

The initiatives in funding women’s sporting facilities and Neighbourhood Houses will have an impact, through greater female sport participation, greater social inclusion, and preventative mental health activity.

We welcome the investment made in preventative mental health through funding for the Rural Alive & Well program.

Greens


Policy

The Tasmanian Greens “believe care needs to move towards a more patient-centric mode of delivery, and that a greater focus on the social determinants of health will be required to reign [sic] in the overall health spend into the future”.

The policy features a strong focus on preventative health and the social determinants of health, including a healthy environment, healthy lifestyles, and community participation.

Within acute health, the Greens policy advocates for the greater autonomy of regional hospitals and rationalisation of administration, as well as greater use of physician assistants and nurses. The Greens were the only party to mention Aboriginal health as an explicit priority.


Rating
Rating Justification

As the Greens policies were un-costed and did not contain detail, it was difficult to fully assess them. However, they appear to come from strong policy decision-making. They have a future focus, through investment in the social determinants of health and preventative health. Their policy’s preamble aligns strongly with TasCOSS’s vision for health policy in the state. It features a strong equity focus, as preventative health works to reduce chronic disease burden, which has a disproportional impact on people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Acute Health


Labor


Policy

Labor’s plan will support the opening of more hospital beds and employ up to 500 health professionals, and a $250M infrastructure package to be spent on the major hospitals.

The Health package spend is spread across six years, but with a staged approach to improve acute care in hospitals. Initiatives include:

  • Medihotels in major centres to reduce bed-blockage and acknowledge difficulties for patients requiring transport to regional areas of the state.
  • More GPs in regional areas through internships for graduate doctors.
  • Investment in ambulance service and hospital transport options for West Coast residents.
  • Spending on Mother-baby units, Child Health Nurses, Integrated Care Centres (Primary Health) and Dental Health.
  • Funding for more acute mental health beds and a feasibility study for an adolescent mental heath facility

Rating
Rating Justification

The policy is a future-focussed response for the acute health system. It acknowledges the need for some centralised acute services, but has provided Medihotels and some transport options to support the load on the acute system.

Labor has emphasised good maternal and infant health, the mental health strategy and dental health.

Although there is a strong focus on the acute sector, the policy acknowledges primary and community based care for preventing hospitalisations.

There is a strong focus on mental health, including increasing the age of adolescent mental health care to 25.

Liberal


Policy

The Liberals’ policies emphasise infrastructure spending in major and regional hospital infrastructure. Funds are provided for the hiring of more doctors, nurses, allied health staff and graduate nurses, as well as upgraded ambulance services.

There is a strong emphasis on mental health, totalling $95M over 6 years, including 25 new Mental Health beds at the RHH, beds for adolescents, as well as step-up, step-down facilities for patients with chronic mental ill-health.

Community Rapid Response Services are to be scaled up in the south, north, and north-west to redirect patients away from hospitalisation.


Rating
Website
Rating Justification

The policy combined planning for the future of the hospital system, including ambulances, while funding community-based measures to reduce the load on hospitals, which is complementary and future-focussed. The investment in mental health beds appears strong.