Letters to the editor

Lynne Eckhardt, of Launceston, has called on the City of Launceston to preserve the historic Coats Patons building.
Lynne Eckhardt, of Launceston, has called on the City of Launceston to preserve the historic Coats Patons building.


PRESERVATION of historical buildings for heritage value has its place in community. However, in the case of the Patons and Baldwins site in Glen Dhu Street, South Launceston, this site is extremely disappointing. The Door of Hope organisation appears to own the site these days, and while it has developed the south-eastern end with a new extension, car park and gym and coffee shop, the rest of the site looks dusty, dingy, dark and dilapidated.

It appears to house a multitude of small enterprises, including a significant storage business but housekeeping throughout the site is poor. For instance, there are three cantilever amenities areas, which overhang the eastern public footpath, all of which are holed underneath and pose a risk to pedestrians. The multitude of sets of windows in the eastern walls are either blanked out or in poor condition generally and look old and neglected. At night, this area is dark and ominous with grossly inadequate lighting.

While the history of this site is fully recognised and respected for what it meant to Launceston in the past, surely there is no value in declaring such a site “heritage” if there is no obligation on the owner to maintain it or ideally, to identify a practical and acceptable future use for the site and its buildings which complement the largely residential precincts which surround it. Currently, the condition of the large north-western end is an embarrassment not only to nearby residents but also to Launceston City. This large building is so prominent but currently is no asset to the city.  If we wish to preserve history, let’s do it with pride, not embarrassment.

Lynne Eckhardt, Launceston.

Statewide health model

THE statewide health model has been disheartening for medical professionals at the Launceston General Hospital, as in the past its strength has been its entrepreneurial and collegiate approach across the hospital. The downgrading of accreditation by the Royal College of Physicians and others has to be extremely concerning to the community and presents problems for both the public and private hospitals. As a teaching hospital the LGH hasbeen held in high esteem and able to readily attract students and it is now understood that the hospital has recently been unable to attract sufficient registrars, thus forcing locums to be employed at a far greater cost to taxpayers.

For Northern Tasmania it is simply disastrous for future recruitment if the hospital has its teaching capabilities diluted. The morale in the hospital, particularly relating to senior doctors, has hit a low point with a feeling of helplessness at watching a once proud hospital declining at a rapid pace.   It is understood that no professional is fully supportive of the current governance issues and this is due partly to poor communication skills and disillusionment with management. Patients at the LGH also need strong governance in service delivery if the hospital is to provide an efficient service.

The government’s priority now should be to have accreditation reinstated immediately to achieve the appropriate number of skilled positions. However I understand that this will take some considerable time to achieve, not reflecting well on those responsible. In recent months we have seen the hospital rapidly cascade down as we can ill afford dependence upon locums and thus having mediocrity in a once great and attractive hospital renowned for its excellence and a regional leader.

Ian J. N. Routley. West Launceston.

King Island

ANOTHER could-not-care-less by the state government. The people of King Island treated with contempt over having a decent ship for transport to and from the island.

A useless barge has been offered (Investigator). It has limited space and would not handle the rough waters of Bass Strait. No politicians need the service so none are really interested, as usual.

Colin Knowles, Devonport.