Medical centres to boost services

AFTER-hours doctors' services will be expanded across the state with the help of five medical centres, which successfully tendered for the new service.

Tasmanian Medicare Local chief executive Phil Edmondson said yesterday that the centres awarded the $50,000, one-off funding to run after-hours medical help were Northern Tasmania's Deloraine Medical Centre, Ulverstone's Patrick Street Clinic, Somerset and Wynyard medical centres on the North-West Coast and Brighton Family Medical Centre, in the South.

``These new and expanded services will supplement the after-hours care that many Tasmanian practices are already providing to their patients,'' Mr Edmondson said.

``The grants will help ensure that more Tasmanians who need urgent primary health services and treatment at difficult times are captured in the out-of-hours safety net.''

After-hours care refers to care for people with an urgent health problem that cannot wait until regular services are available again.

News of the proposed, expanded services came a couple of months after Medicare Local determined that the Launceston area did not have after-hours clinic access for part of the week.

Medicare after-hours program co-ordinator Meghan Mann-Leonard said that  a major focus for the organisation was to establish adequate after-hours health care services across the state for GPs and also allied health and pharmacies.

Mr Edmondson said that the new Medicare Locals around Australia, which have been introduced as part of federal health reforms, had a mandate to improve access to effective after-hours services for  communities.

``This grants initiatives is just one of a number of measures Tasmania Medicare Local has and will put in place,'' he said.

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