Epilepsy Tasmania says families look at leaving state for better neurology services

Dr Kurien Koshy

Dr Kurien Koshy

Families in the state's North and North-West are thinking about moving interstate to access better neurology services, according to Epilepsy Tasmania.

It comes after the only permanent neurologist servicing the two regions announced he was leaving, saying his cries for help were ignored by the state government.

Dr Kurien Koshy was stationed at the Launceston General Hospital for more than six years, but said his increasing workload was becoming unmanageable.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said he wasn't aware of any complaints made by the outgoing doctor. However, he announced two neurologists would be hired in the North to meet demand.

We’ve had some families a couple of weeks ago saying they’re seriously contemplating as a family relocating to Melbourne... - Wendy Groot

Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive Wendy Groot said some families in the region were considering moving interstate in order to "get the support they need for their children”.

“We’ve had some families a couple of weeks ago saying they’re seriously contemplating as a family relocating to Melbourne or somewhere else on the mainland because they can’t access services here,” she said.

“I’ve been with the organisation for 14 months now and the message has been consistently the same across the state in terms of people being able to access neurologists. At the moment it’s increasing and people’s anxiety is increasing because Dr Koshy is moving on.” 

A Health Department spokesman said the Tasmanian Health Service was “assessing applicants” for the two neurology positions announced by the minister.

“It is critical to develop a sustainable neurology service in the North and North-West of the state, and the new positions will see patients from both regions,” he said.

“It is likely that additional staff will also be hired to support these positions. At this point it is difficult to say when the new positions will commence as it will depend on the circumstances of the successful candidates.”

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