A new space for women and children could be created at the Launceston General Hospital when a planned redevelopment goes ahead.
The dedicated precinct would form part of the first upgrade to the 4K Children’s Ward in more than 20 years, which was announced by the state government last year.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said on Monday the new outpatient clinics for women and children would be built as an additional level, above the paediatric ward.
The promise has been made as part of the Liberals Northern health package, which includes $19.1 million over six years to employ staff and create eight new beds for 4K.
The state government previously announced the 4K upgrade would also include specialist mental health services for young people, which has not previously been on offer at the hospital.
Tasmanian Health Service Community Advisory Council chairman Peter O’Sullivan said the organisation had been lobbying for improvements to the paediatric ward and welcomed the latest upgrade plans.
“We support any new funding for the Launceston General Hospital, which in turn can improve the health services for the community of Launceston and the North-East of Tasmania,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
An $87 million redevelopment of the entire hospital complex has also been included in the $160 million commitment for the North, which is part of the Liberals $757 million statewide health plan.
“Works will include improvements across medical, surgical, maternity, obstetric, pediatric and mental health units,” Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson reaffirmed more car parking spaces and a $1.4 million air conditioning upgrade was on the horizon for the hospital as well as new nursing roles.
He confirmed an additional 180 positions would be offered over the next six years, with 60 expected to work in the North.
When questioned about whether plans to extend car parking would impact on the potential for a co-located private hospital at the LGH, Mr Ferguson said the state government would not “commit to giving up any space on this hospital site”.
“Our focus is on building public hospital services,” he said.
“We will consider Calvary’s proposal very carefully, but we won’t be giving away car spaces and car parks for free … instead … we will build an extra 168 car spaces, including a new level on the multistorey.”
The health package extends beyond the North and onto Flinders Island, with funding to be delivered for a two-year pilot program with not-for-profit organisation Community Transport Services Tasmania, which provides transport to medical and social appointments for Tasmanians over 65 and those living with disabilities.