THO base in North `makes no sense'

DENISON Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie.
DENISON Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie.

DENISON Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie says basing a single Tasmanian health organisation "in Launceston, of all places" is a ludicrous proposal.

Mr Wilkie said yesterday collapsing the state's three regional health bodies into one was a good idea, but to base the unified entity in Launceston would be ridiculous.

He said people in Northern Tasmania needed to understand Hobart is the state's capital.

"This is the centre of administration and the seat of government," Mr Wilkie said.

"It's also where we have Tasmania's main hospital ... and it's where the majority of Tasmania's clinical and tertiary health services are based and provided."

Mr Wilkie said it made no sense to put the organisation's headquarters at "the other end of the state".

He said his opposition was based on delivering good healthcare.

"This isn't about North versus South, not from me," he said.

"But from any politician who advocates the THO in the North, or any politician who would put a single THO in the North, for him or her, that would be purely about politics."

Mr Wilkie warned the move would be "letting the Launceston health mafia run mad" and constitute "pork-barreling on an industrial scale".

"It will fundamentally call into question the judgment of the Health Minister and raise the issue of conflict of interest," he said.

"That he [Michael Ferguson] might contemplate putting the only Tasmanian health organisation in his home town, and in his own electorate, even though that's patently against good public health planning and policy."

The state government will today announce plans to amalgamate the state's three THOs.

The single, statewide entity will be based in Launceston, and will begin operating from July next year.


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