$20m health windfall

The Launceston General Hospital

The Launceston General Hospital

TASMANIA’S health system will get $20 million in extra Commonwealth funding, filling some of the black hole left by May’s tough federal budget.

Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton will visit Launceston today to offer up the extra injection of funds, following constructive talks with state Health Minister Michael Ferguson.

Mr Ferguson and Mr Dutton will appear together at the Launceston General Hospital to make the announcement.

The additional funding is expected to be spent on front-line services and boost elective surgeries by at least 2000 over two years, with priority given to patients most overdue for surgery.

Tasmania was hit hardest by the budget cuts, with $27 million earmarked for health services dependent on the state meeting unachievable targets on hospital activity and elective surgery waiting times.

The final dollar figure impact was not known, but Premier Will Hodgman said at the time he was ‘‘blindsided’’ by the cuts and estimated it would cost Tasmania 59 hospital beds or more than 5000 surgeries.

It is understood the extra cash is a result of discussions between Mr Dutton and Mr Ferguson that have been occurring since the federal budget, with a case made for Tasmania to receive a special provision of funds.

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