In a perfect world governments would have enough money to ensure our health system was equipped with the latest medical equipment and the best specialists.
But this is not a perfect world.
Further, too often regional hospitals are put on the back-burner of their city counterparts when it comes to government funding - both state and federal. Launceston General Hospital is the acute referral hospital for the state's North and North-West. And yet for years, despite the requests of staff, it was denied a machine that would have rapidly improved the waiting times for liver disease patients.
Instead, it was borrowing a FibroScan once a week from the Mersey Community Hospital - something it was only able to obtain when it was in the hands of the federal government. Fortunately for the LGH, it has the Clifford Craig Foundation, which as chief executive Peter Milne put it, is there to provide the "extra gold nuggets" the hospital needs.
Within five months it was able to raise $180,000 to purchase a FibroScan for the hospital, with a little help from the community. The machine and the support of the foundation also played a part in securing the LGH with a new gaestronologist - Professor Nicholas Shackel - who originally came to the state from Sydney as a locum.
The CCF has a 30-year history of supporting high quality research programs in the state's North and North-West. And there's no denying the incentive of funded research also plays a major role in attracting medical specialists to our state - something Tasmania has struggled with for decades.
On the other side, the state government spent $34 million on locum medical professionals across Tasmania's four major hospitals in 2019-20 - now that equates to a lot of FibroScan machines.
Perhaps this is a simplistic view for what's a complicated system, or perhaps we need to seriously reassess where our priorities are when it comes to funding our health system.
The CCF is now spreading its wings further and funding not just research, but also medical equipment and education. It's facilitating seminars and conferences at the hospital to give clinicians opportunities they would normally have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne for. The flow on effects of this for the hospital and the community it serves are endless.
Because no matter which way you look at it, health is expensive. Running a hospital is expensive, medical equipment is expensive and so is research. As it is, a third of our state budget already goes towards health - and it will never be enough. The Clifford Craig Foundation, and clearly the community who supports it, recognises the value of investing in medical research. So too should governments.
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