Regional healthcare has been highlighted as a priority of Labor's health policy - announcing more than $197 million to be invested into upgrading 17 rural hospitals and providing 24/7 care at 30 Community Health Centres around the state.
Labor leader Rebecca White said the Liberal government had ignored the health of Tasmanians in regional areas over the past seven years.
The Liberal party has made several health policy announcements this week, including upgrades to the North West Regional and Mersey Community Hospitals, and significant investments aimed at reducing the elective surgery waitlist.
"There's been a chronic lack of investment in regional and rural healthcare, and that's seen more and more patients forced to either travel to their local big hospital emergency department, or even worse, wait in pain because they can't get an appointment to see a GP or another health professional," Ms White said.
The $197 million includes capital of $59.5 million to upgrade regional hospitals, as well as staffing costs.
"Our plan would see the provision of service seen here in the local community ... and also make sure people can access healthcare when and where they need it, and take pressure off our ambulance service which we know is under extraordinary stain," Ms White said.
"This will take a huge amount of pressure off our acute system which we all know is struggling under strain at the minute, but also make sure that Tasmanians right across this state can access the sorts of health services that we should be providing to everybody under a universal healthcare system."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Labor's policy also includes a training package for 50 rural generalists. Ms White said an announcement to aid in ambulance response times was to be expected in coming days.
However, Premier Peter Gutwein said Tasmanians "cannot trust Labor when it comes to health".
"Last time when they were in government they sacked a nurse a day for nine months, they closed wards, they actually closed and downgraded rural hospitals," Mr Gutwein said.
"This government rolled out a significant maintenance program last year in its response to COVID and has an ongoing maintenance plan in terms of our hospitals.
"In terms of our plans, we are gradually rolling them out across this campaign, and we'll have more to say as it progresses."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.