Health has been at the forefront of the 2019 federal election campaign, but what does it all mean for Northern Tasmania?
The Examiner has broken down some of the key health commitments made by both major parties, around key issues such as mental health, primary health, preventative health as well as hospital and cancer services.
We will also take a closer look at what some of the state's peak health bodies make of the promises, and what's missing.
Hospital and cancer services
One day before announcing the 2019 federal election would be held May 18, Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Launceston to announce the Liberal Party's $92 million Tasmania Health Plan.
Elective surgery, mental health care, maternity services and breast cancer diagnosis were among some of the "priority needs" addressed in the state-specific health funding program.
Mr Morrison said the Tasmanian Health Plan would also provide greater support for Tasmanians living in rural and remote locations, while increasing a wide range of vital services, from GPs to hospital care and specialist health services.
"Our strong economic management means we can provide record investment in Medicare, public hospitals and medicines, delivering more doctors, more nurses and more services to Tasmanians," Mr Morrison said.
"We can deliver this record investment in health without raising taxes for hard-working Tasmanians."
Meanwhile, cancer care and out-of-pocket expenses was front and centre when Labor Leader Bill Shorten visited Launceston in early April, announcing plans to increase the number of metastatic cancer nurses across Australia.
Launceston would get a specialist prostate nurse and a metastatic nurse, if Labor was elected, with five additional specialist cancer nurses poised for Tasmania as a whole.
"Cancer is the greatest disease burden in Australia, and it carries the greatest out-of-pocket costs in our healthcare system," Mr Shorten said.
"Nearly half of Australian cancer patients pay more than $5000 in out-of-pocket costs over the course of their diagnosis and treatment.
"More than a quarter of cancer patients pay more than $10,000 out of their own pocket.
"This builds on Labor's plans for cheaper cancer scans, cheaper cancer specialist consultations and cheaper cancer medicines.
"Labor believes it should be your Medicare card, not your credit card, which guarantees access to quality health care in Australia."
REACTION: Australian Medical Association, Tasmania branch
Both major parties have promised to slash elective surgery wait lists across the state and support more Tasmanians in rural and remote locations.
However, the state's peak health body says policy announcements made by the major parties once again leaves Tasmania short.
Australian Medical Association president professor John Burgess said while there were some welcome announcements from the Coalition and Labor - including the lifting of the freeze on Medicare rebates to patients and increased activity based funding to hospitals - sadly there were also some glaring omissions.
The most obvious being the lack of any commitment towards the next stages of the new Royal Hobart Hospital.
"Promises continue to be made on issues like elective surgery, which are politically popular, but do nothing to help to invest in the long term staffing and infrastructure needed to have a sustainable health care system which can cope with the growing demand on our hospitals, evident with the pressures we see in our emergency departments," he said.
"It's particularly disappointing that, throughout this campaign, no party has committed to the next stages of the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment, Tasmania's only tertiary hospital.
"There remains an urgent need for the next federal government to commit significant partnership funds to help the Tasmanian state government undertake the much-needed hospital redevelopment based on the RHH masterplan."
A mental health hub for Northern Tasmania was a key priority for readers, according to The Examiner's Northern Agenda federal election survey.
Both major parties have announced plans to establish a mental health centre/hub in Launceston, however peak bodies were quick to point out a lack of detail and consultation in the plans.
The Labor Party were first to announce plans for a $15 million, 25-bed acute mental health unit to be located near the Launceston General Hospital - with an exact location to be determined.
The plan would include acute care, as well as facilities for group care, day programs and outreach services to enable better integration with the community.
Mr Shorten said the unit would provide the best and most modern models of care and would replace the current Northside Ward at the Launceston General Hospital.
Similarly, the Liberal Party would provide $10.5 million for a walk-in mental health centre in Launceston, aimed at providing psychological counselling or other mental health services, without a prior appointment.
Mr Morrison said the centre would cater for people in a crisis as well as those at risk, and provide an alternative to a hospital emergency department.
It is understood the Liberal Party would work with the state government to determine a location for the mental health centre.
REACTION: Mental Health Council of Tasmania
Days before the Labor party's mental health centre pledge, Tasmania's Mental Health Council of Tasmania made its own submission to state and federal governments, calling for $20 million to fund a Northern hub.
In response to plans announced by both major parties, MHCT chief executive Connie Digolis said that an integrated model of mental health care needed to be the prioritised.
"While we don't have a great level of detail from either side, our hope would be that which ever party is elected ensures that the hub and associated infrastructure is developed around an integrated model of mental health care," she said.
"Integration means truly adopting a 'no wrong door' policy to meet the mental health needs for every individual at every stage of life.
"MHCT has highlighted in our proposal the unique opportunity to develop a genuinely integrated mental health service with the one centre providing access to all levels and types of support that can respond to the needs of individuals and families in a way that we haven't seen in Australia, let alone northern Tasmania.
"While it is fantastic to see Launceston as the chosen trial site for the hub, it needs to be reiterated that in order for this to be a success there must be extensive localised consultation and planning done with all stakeholders to ensure we are providing the best possible service to meet the needs of this specific community."
Primary and preventive health:
Tasmania remains the only state in Australia without publicly funded mammography equipment.
Both the Coalition and Labor have committed $3 million to improve access to breast cancer diagnosis equipment, with the addition of two diagnostic mammography units - one in Hobart and one in Launceston.
The University of Tasmania's Menzies Institute Multiple Sclerosis Flagship Program would also receive a boost under either party.
Labor and the Coalition have committed $12.4 million to boost new medical research.
This includes the University of Tasmania Menzies Institute Multiple Sclerosis flagship program, and preventative health research at the University of Tasmania.
Other key commitments include:
- Northern Tasmanian residents would see improved all-hours stroke care under a federal Labor plan to link regional emergency departments to a roster of the country's leading specialists.
- Launceston General Hospital ED would get $1 million under Labor.
- Labor pledges $95 million to help 'solve' state's health crisis.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks up $308 million Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme revamp.
- Australian Greens raise possibility of Launceston General Hospital funding.
- Liberal health plan to help Birth Centre, with more money pledged for North