TASMANIA seems set to lose a tailor-made, localised afterhours healthcare service to make way for a new national model that meets federal government guidelines.
GP Assist, which has run Tasmania’s after-hours doctor-nurse triage services since 2008 confirmed yesterday it had not tendered for the new model expected to be up and running from July.
GP Assist Tasmanian operations director Donna Brandon said its parent company had decided not to tender for the new service to be run by Tasmanian Medicare Local because the nature of the service called for in the tender was not at the same level as currently provided.
GP Assist parent company Clinical Solutions had also decided the after-hours service was outside its core business.
State opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said the tender for the new service, supported by both federal and state health departments, was for an inferior and more expensive national call centre-based model.
‘‘Lack of local knowledge may result in more patients being referred to distant locations posing serious health risks,’’ Mr Rockliff said.
‘‘Already mistakes are being made through the national call centre like directing a patient from Richmond to Bruny Island for care and a patient in Hobart to the Launceston General Hospital emergency department.’’
Ms Brandon said the new service called for was bland and without regard for local conditions.
Tasmania Medicare Local chief executive Phil Edmondson said an evaluation panel was considering the applications for the tender to provide a telephone-based after-hours medical advice and GP support service in Tasmania.
Tenders closed on February 13.
‘‘Funding and management of the after-hours support services in Tasmania transfers from the federal government to Tasmania Medicare Local from July 1,’’ Mr Edmondson said.
‘‘While future workforce support services will be largely similar to what is currently provided by GP Assist Tasmania, the Australian Government has required some changes to the model of delivery including use of the after-hours nurse telephone triage service available to all Australians through Healthdirect Australia.’’
Healthdirect Australia is a centrally based national nurse call centre service.