Medicare office relocation slammed

A TASMANIAN retiree fears Medicare's move out of the city's central business district will "cripple" the area.

As of next Monday, Medicare will operate out of the Centrelink Service Centre in Boland Street.

But Bridport resident Brian Khan has expressed concern for elderly Medicare clients who have long benefited from the health care provider's central location and public transport accessibility.

"This is all about an attack on the CBD in Launceston," Mr Khan said.

"For the elderly people coming into city, they can't deal with this and they're going to have to go all the way to Boland Street to do their transactions.

"I find it an inconvenience and another loss of a major business in the CBD. What are they trying to do, cripple the CBD?"

Mr Khan said a lack of car parking in Boland Street was just one of many problems the move would create.

"You need gumboots to walk through there (Boland Street) during winter," he said.

"The lease has expired on the building, but to move something out of the CBD - I'm amazed."

Yesterday, Launceston Medicare service centre manager Kim Hennessy said the merger  with Centrelink was all about convenience for residents, however, client numbers had dropped significantly in the past 12 months.

"The Launceston one-stop-shop has an easy-to-navigate, open-plan layout with modern facilities, making it a more pleasant environment for both customers and staff," she said.

"There has been an increase in claiming from doctors' surgeries in Launceston, so this, coupled with the introduction of the department's Express Plus mobile apps, means people no longer need to visit a service centre for something as routine as claiming a rebate."

Ms Hennessy also disagreed with Mr Khan on the topic of parking convenience.

"These days customers can get online, instead of waiting in line, to complete a range of their Centrelink and Medicare business," she said.

"Parking options are also more flexible at the Boland Street office.

"Customers will not have to park up to a block away from the site, making it easier for those with mobility issues."

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