Published: 24 June 2021

Legislative Council Wednesday 23 June, 2021



On 29 April 2021 the Leader Tabled a response to a Petition related to medical services, particularly access to a general practitioners. I am aware that GP services are not the responsibility of State Government. In response to the petition then Minister for Health, Minister Courtney stated:

“Ochre Health notified the THS in late 2019 that in response to patient demand, it is trialling a change in the operational service model that involved relocating unutilised GP resources between Strahan and Zeehan, as well as a change of clinic service hours - with its Strahan service opening three days a week and its Zeehan service opening five days a week. This interim trial model is being assessed monthly and Ochre Health will continue to monitor activity and advise the THS as required.”

Further the Minister stated:
“In February 2020, Ochre Health further advised the THS that they had seen an improved alignment of GP services for the region, in particular at Zeehan. The THS and the Government will also continue to engage regularly with primary care organisations such as Primary Health Tasmania and Health Recruitment Plus to support the primary care sector where possible.”

1 What advice regarding service levels has been provided by Ochre Health to the THS since February 2020?
2 Is the Minister aware there are weeks where there are no GP services available in Strahan?
3 How often does this occur?
4 What action is the Minister taking to address this matter?
5 Is there a service level agreement in place that requires a base level of service in both Strahan and Zeehan


1 Ochre Health meets with representatives from the Tasmanian Health Service on a quarterly basis to discuss service provision.

2 I am advised that over the preceding 12-month period, there has been only one instance where the local GP was unavailable for their normal weekly appointments due to unforeseen circumstances.

3 As previously outlined, I am advised there has only been one occurrence.

4 The Minister for Health has met with the Federal Minister for Regional Health the Honourable Mark Coulton MP in relation to the provision of GP Services in regional areas.
The Tasmanian Government also committed $3 million during the recent election campaign to incentivise GPs and pharmacies to provide after-hours services for their local communities. This will help access and complement the $1 million Hospital Avoidance co-investment fund previously announced to match, dollar for dollar, capital upgrades to allow for improved after hours care.

5 I am advised there are no services agreements in place with Ochre in relation to the provision of private GP services.






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