Government privatisation risk assessment needed in light of St Helen’s closure

Patients and workers are calling on Premier Rockliff to take more action following the sudden closure of St Helen’s Private Practice, a move which has inflamed Tasmania’s health crisis.  

The CPSU welcomed the Government’s decision this month to insource maternity services in Tasmania’s north west, and is calling on the Government to do the same for mental health services now in limbo. 

While politicians bickered across the road, a packed Executive Building courtyard heard powerful stories from patients and health professionals about the life saving work done at St Helen’s and the devastating loss facing the community if those services aren’t continued.” 

  • Jess Munday, Secretary, Unions Tasmania 

The loss puts further strain on already limited options for Tasmanians seeking both inpatient and outpatient mental health care. While attention has been drawn to the immediate loss of 39 mental health beds, it will also see already limited options slim even further for patients seeking outpatient mental health care.  

Outpatient programs lost include groups for individuals suffering from anxiety and complex trauma. At a time when unions have thrown a spotlight on the impact of vicarious trauma and secondary PTSD on workers, the loss will put a huge strain on Tasmanians seeking support.  

“Tasmania urgently needs a statewide risk assessment of dependency on privatised services,” said CPSU General Secretary Thirza White. 

 “After years of underfunding of our public sector, it’s nearly impossible to track the true extent of Tasmania’s dependency on privatised services that could disappear overnight,” 

“Our state should not have single dependency on private providers that could walk away the moment their business ceases to be profitable – Tasmanians deserve peace of mind that life-saving services will be there when they need them.” 

“There should be consequences for private companies that turn a profit and walk away.” 

The State Government has moved to establish a 3-bed mother and baby unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital in response, but has yet to respond to the loss of outpatient programs or the remaining 36 beds. We expect to see action from Premier Rockliff in this week’s State Budget to respond to the sudden loss of services Tasmanians urgently rely on. 

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