Nurses and Midwives Rally to Save St. Helen’s Private Hospital Health Services

22 May 2023

When TUESDAY 23 MAY, 2023, 12:00 MIDDAY – 12:30pm

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch along with the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) will hold a rally outside the Executive Building tomorrow Tuesday 23 May highlighting the need for the Tasmanian Government to commit to the same level of health service delivery that it is currently being provided at St. Helen’s Private Hospital, which is set for closure in June.

Healthscope’s St. Helen’s Private Hospital was flagged for closure in June only a few weeks ago to the shock of staff, patients, and the community. The facility currently provides:

  • inpatient mental health services,
  • Trans Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment,
  • outpatient mental health clinics and therapy.

    The facility also provides a mother and baby unit which supports women and their babies with:

  • mental health concerns,
  • maternal exhaustion
  • and baby sleeping and settling challenges.

    The in-patient mental health services accounts for over half the states mental health inpatients beds. It is currently the only facility in the state providing TMS treatment which is often required by up to 120 patients every 6 weeks. The facility provides significant outpatient support to mental health clients and offers the only public and private mother and baby beds in the State.

The loss of the services will be a huge loss to Tasmanian healthcare. It will be a particularly huge blow to community members requiring treatment for mental health conditions. These patients will no longer be able to access the same vital services on a regular basis as they have done from St. Helen’s Private Hospital and will instead need to rely on public mental health services already stretched well beyond capacity, putting them at risk.

For mothers who were previously able to access the mother and baby unit, including those who are privately insured and were able to do so proactively, will now need to reach a high level of ill health before even being considered for the States proposed 3 public mother and baby beds, which is flagged to be established in the Royal Hobart Hospitals K6W which will mean mothers and babies will be in shared rooms and not provided treatment in line with the current model of care.

‘The reality is that these Tasmanians, whether they are accessing mental health services or the mother and baby unit, will be at risk without an appropriate alternative provided by the Tasmanian Government when St. Helen’s Hospital closes in June’, said Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary.

‘The Government can say that it is not their job to take over private health services, but without any other options, Tasmanians will be required to wait in order to receive public health support, and are likely to rapidly deteriorate before receiving care. The Tasmanian Government must act now to ensure that there are services available for some of our most vulnerable Tasmanians’

We need plans for a number of services to be in place to support these patients once St. Helen’s Private Hospital closes in June. TMS services will need to be secured in an appropriate environment to ensure continuity of care for patients. Furthermore, to support mothers and babies, a Medi-hotel model of care for a mother baby unit will also need to be established outside of the current proposed 3 dedicated beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021