October 17, 2014.

Beaconsfield District Health Service event

I know I don’t need to tell you how important regional health services like this one are to local communities.

Tasmanians want to be treated, where possible, close to their communities and families, and we need a health structure that enables patients to move smoothly to and from acute care to recuperative facilities.

Yes, there is a good argument for centralised acute care facilities, and I believe the LGH is a wonderful example.

It’s there, and not too far away, when you need it.

But if you are well enough to leave the LGH, and not well enough to go straight home, you need a local facility like Beaconsfield.

The smart managers in the DHHS know this and work hard to integrate regional services with acute care.

But unfortunately the bean counters sometimes begrudge the resources necessary for regional health structures.

So it is up to communities to keep reminding the politicians how important structures like the Beaconsfield District Health service are to voters.

OK, that’s the serious part of my message today out of the way.

Now I want to talk about auxiliaries and I guess that’s a serious topic too; without auxiliaries we couldn’t run a health service in Tasmania the way we manage to.

Auxiliaries, and that’s most of you here are absolutely vital in providing services which otherwise couldn’t be afforded,

Dulci Jarman who attended the annual Auxiliaries conference recently has provided the following facts:

  • Last year Tasmanian auxiliaries raised $720,000.

  • Auxiliaries funded $680,000 for equipment for hospitals and health facilities.

  • There are 289 auxiliary members in the northern region.

These are very impressive figures indeed.

There’s been a lot of discussion about volunteers in the past few years; they are vital in our communities.

And it could be said that hospital auxiliaries are some of our most effective volunteers.

They are particularly effective because there is a structure around them and a defined role.

But I believe they need more support---not just from the community, but from government.

What I would like to see is a constructive dialogue between auxiliary organisations, health professionals---and most importantly, government.

I don’t now what you think, but I believe the role of our important auxiliaries could be helped and improved.

And that involves, among other things, more recognition and appreciation.