Hansard of the Legislative Council
Thursday 28 March 2013
DISTRICT HEALTH CENTRE SHINES
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, the
restructuring of Tasmania's health services over the past few years to give
greater regional autonomy has improved the experience of many patients. One of
the aims of that reorganisation, which we debated here, was to make it easier
and more efficient to move patients from one section of the system to another.
For example, a patient admitted to Launceston General Hospital for acute care
could be transferred to a local district health centre for recovery and thus be
closer to family and friends.
The Beaconsfield District Health Centre in my electorate of
Rosevears fulfils this role, together with numerous other roles. I have a
statement from management:
We accommodate clients transferred from the LGH whenever we
can. We believe it is important for community members to recover in a calm and
caring environment close to their family and community.
The local community identifies strongly with the
Beaconsfield facility, so strongly that most refer to it as the 'Beaconsfield
Hospital', refusing to use its real title - Beaconsfield District Health
Centre. It is the community's local hospital.
Many local people are intimately connected to it, having
been a patient there or visited relatives or friends. Many are on first‑name
terms with the staff when they meet them in the street or when they go to the
Christmas function organised at Winkleigh Hall by the staff at the hospital.
I refer today to one recent case which demonstrates the
community's attachment to the Beaconsfield hospital. It involves Mrs Robin
MacDonald, who had a terminal illness. She had private health cover and she
could have chosen to be admitted to a private facility in Launceston. However,
Mrs MacDonald was familiar with what Beaconsfield could offer from visits she
had made to friends being cared for there. Robin MacDonald died at Beaconsfield
on 12 February. Her husband wrote a letter of thanks to the director of
nursing, Rhonda McCoy. A copy of the letter was sent to me by Mr MacDonald -
not Ms McCoy. I will quote from part of the letter:
She chose Beaconsfield because she knew you would provide
all the care and attention she needed, in surroundings she enjoyed, with people
she trusted, in an atmosphere that was relaxed but very professional.
Consequently her last days were as happy and pain‑free as possible. No private
facility could have done better.
Not only did your staff take such quality care of Robin, but
all members of our family, and other visitors, were extremely well looked
after, even on those occasions when there were lots there at once. We really
appreciate the kindness and consideration of all your staff. I would like to
give a special thanks to those staff members who were on duty the night she
died, for the sensitive manner they related to my son and me.
It is a touching letter of thanks from a bereaved husband.
As Mr MacDonald said, facilities such as Beaconsfield are a vital part of a
quality health care system that families really appreciate.
The Beaconsfield District Health Centre offers a wide range
of services, including residential aged care. They have respite for older
people, and hospital care people for people recovering from major operations or
illnesses. It also reaches into the community, with services like community
nursing; they have home‑help services and women's health clinics. It has 22
beds available, four of which accommodate palliative care patients when
required. Those of you in regional areas would realise how important those
palliative care beds are.
The director of nursing, Rhonda McCoy, said visitors to all
patients are actively encouraged. I will quote her:
When a client is palliative, the family are very much part
of their care plan and are encouraged to be here as much as they like. We have
a sitting room adjacent to our palliative care suite, with a private courtyard.
We have a fold‑out bed, and family are welcome to stay overnight. We have a
palliative care tea trolley for family use, and families are fed, watered and
cared for as well as the client.
We have a social worker on staff who also provides support
to families or clients when required.
My West Tamar community is grateful to have such a well‑managed
and thoughtful health service and I am very proud to have it in my electorate