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Inquiry says 'significant reform' needed in Tas healthcare

Photo: Committee chair Ruth Forrest
Significant reform is needed to help Tasmania's ailing preventative health systems, with a parliamentary inquiry making several recommendations.

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended an overhaul of Tasmania's preventative healthcare systems with the state lagging far behind the national average in several areas.

A joint select committee report released on Tuesday detailed a sorry summary of the island state's health and wellbeing trends and subsequent need for reform including greater funding.

"The health of the Tasmanian population is significantly poorer than the national average with regard to several of the major indicators including death rates, chronic disease, risky behaviours and mental health," the report reads.

Committee chair Ruth Forrest said it's crucial that reforms consider social issues - such as housing, education and employment - which have an impact on health outcomes.
"Low health literacy has an adverse impact on lifestyle choices, either through a lack of knowledge and information, or the inability to comprehend the health promotion and illness prevention messages and advice that is provided," she said.

The independent MP-dominated committee called for an increased focus on maternal health, aged care, mental health, disability support and a greater promotion of healthy living.

The premier's department should be responsible for driving change and work with federal government departments for improved outcomes, the report recommended.

It also called for significant funding increases to preventative health measures but did not quantify the additional spend.

"To achieve an adequately resourced preventative health model, significant reform to the structure and funding of preventative health is required."

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