The Meander Valley Council has organised a public meeting regarding changes to the funding of the Rural Primary Health Services Program.
Meander Valley mayor Craig Perkins said the meeting was about giving locals a clear understanding of the rural health tender process and the impact it has had on the community.
“We’ll be calling for the community to work with us to reinstate the community health measures that were in place prior,” Cr Perkins said.
“The idea is to bring to light the impacts of people affected by the changes and the impact that has had on them and to express their disappointment. I think it’s really important to understand that the decision has had consequences.”
Cr Perkins hoped having community members at the meeting would strengthen the chances of the programs being reinstated.
“We need to be able to make sure it doesn’t happen again and look at how we reinstate the facilities that were cut.”
The Meander Valley lost a youth worker, mental health worker and a social worker at the Westbury Community Health Centre due to federal government changes to rural health.
Cr Perkins said the council would be writing letters to the organisations that were working with the three workers at the health centre, inviting Primary Health Tasmania and all politicians to attend.
“I’d be disappointed if they weren’t there and I would hope that they would turn up,” he said.
The changes came into effect on January 1, as Primary Health Tasmania implemented a new federally-funded rural health program, focused on chronic disease. Community concerns had been raised with councillors about what services had been cut.
“We were aware that some activities had stopped, and we were aware that other activities that are taking place won’t continue or may diminish. One of the aims of this public meeting is to try and clearly state what is happening,” Cr Perkins said. “It’s not just about the council expressing disappointment, it’s about the people in the community.”
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 21, at the council office from 7pm.