Media Releases

How Long Must One Man Wait?

June 07, 2018

Labor Candidate for Braddon, Justine Keay, and Tasmanian Labor Leader, Rebecca White, today visited Theo Stolp of Devonport to highlight how the health crisis in Tasmania is only getting worse as a result of Malcolm Turnbull and Will Hodgman’s cuts.

“Mr Stolp has been waiting for 375 days for back surgery, he is struggling every day with prescription pain-relief and the uncertainty around when he will get in for surgery,” Justine Keay said.

“Yesterday morning he called the Tasmanian Health Service again in sheer desperation for a date for his surgery and was told he would “just have to wait”.

“I wrote to Health Minister Michael Ferguson in July last year seeking a timeframe for Mr Stolp. When the Minister eventually got around to responding two months later, he noted that the clinically recommended timeframe is 90 days but gave no guarantees on a surgery date.

“It has now been 375 days – over four times the clinically recommended timeframe – and Mr Stolp still does not have a confirmation date for surgery.

“I am pleased that Federal Labor has committed to a $30 million investment to help address Tasmania’s elective surgery backlog. This will enable almost 3,000 extra elective surgery procedures – equivalent to half the current waiting list,” Ms Keay said.

Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White said Mr Stolp’s ongoing delays were symptomatic of a health system in crisis under a Minister too busy playing political games.

“Michael Ferguson needs stop playing political games and focus on his day job – fixing the health crisis he created,” Ms White said.

“I met Mr Stolp during the Tasmanian election campaign – at that stage, he had been waiting for 270 days – and there was real hope that he would get in for surgery in the coming weeks.

“It is an indictment on Michael Ferguson that in September last year he would outline the clinically recommended timeframe and then do nothing while it blew out once, twice, three and now four times.

“Tasmanian Labor will never stop pushing for the Liberal Governments in Canberra and Hobart to reverse their cuts to health and for people like Mr Stolp who have been waiting too long.

“The people of Braddon have a clear choice on July 28 – a vote for Justine Keay and Labor will send a clear message that the people of Braddon want investments in our hospitals and schools and not a $17 billion handout to the banks,” Ms White said.