It is worth noting that the 70,000 population figure that John Howard and Tony Abbott are using is for the whole of Braddon electorate, NOT the Devonport/Latrobe area.
Their proposal would mean TWO hospitals servicing about 35,000 people each which is clinically unviable and would create incredible dangers; even if they could attract specialists, they would not be getting enough throughput to maintain their skills and there would be a loss of quality and increased mortality.
This is a nightmare proposal for Tasmania — and for Australia. The Commonwealth gave up hospitals and handed back the repatriation hospitals years ago because they could not run them. There is no reason to believe a small fiefdom of “community” and local doctors will be able to manage this hospital any better. Healthscope gave up Mersey in the mid 1990s as it was unviable and unsafe — they could not maintain clinical standards.
Tony Abbott also made some throwaway comments this morning on Sunrise about people not being able to travel on “rough” roads. He obviously has not been to Braddon — as the Commonwealth has thrown money at the roads there and they now have a four-lane highway — whereas the south of Tasmania is full of potholes and narrow winding lanes! The road to the Burnie hospital is magnificent — ambulances can travel there very fast.
Also I am sick and tired of hearing John Howard say that 60% of Tasmania’s income is Commonwealth money. We pay taxes too, income and GST and business taxes and Tasmania exports more per capita than any other State. John Howard acts as though Commonwealth money is his. It is not — it belongs to the people of Australia and the people of Tasmania. He is just the tax collector.