Earlier start for Tasmanian maternity services shift

·2-min read
Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Maternity health services in Tasmania's northwest will begin operating in the public system a year earlier than expected.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff confirmed North West Private Hospital's services would be transitioned to the Tasmanian Health System from December this year instead of November 2024.

The state government first announced plans to bring northwest maternity services into the public system in October 2021, after a medical review found deficiencies in care.

Mr Rockliff said the new public services provide safer and more integrated support.

"It's better for mums, better for babies and better for the community," he told reporters on Thursday.

"It will be a more sustainable service for the northwest coast.

"We always said that if we could bring forward the change sooner, but most importantly safely, then we would do so."

The Tasmanian health department will work closely with the private hospital to ensure the transition is smooth and patients' needs are met, Mr Rockliff said.

The current contract between the Tasmanian government and North West Private Hospital will end once the new service model starts.

Staff working at the private hospital will also be able to transition into the public service, while there will be a focus on attracting new workers to the region.

AMA Tasmania vice president Annette Barratt welcomed the announcement, saying the association would work with the government to transition the services.

"We urge the government to set a specific date for the changeover in December so that doctors, nurses, and patients have certainty and clarity around the change," Dr Barratt said in a statement.

"Giving birth is a momentous life event and should not be overshadowed by stress, fear or dangers associated with inadequate maternity care."

Opposition health spokeswoman Anita Dow said Labor would hold the government to account to ensure the announcement was delivered.

"Maternity services on the northwest coast should never have got to the point where they were deemed unsafe by the Australian Medical Association," she said in a statement.