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Launceston General Hospital kitchen to move offsite, no plans for privatisation: Minister

Pulse Tasmania
Launceston General Hospital. Image / Pulse

The Tasmanian Health Department is looking into moving the Launceston General Hospital kitchen offsite, but has ruled out privatising the service.

Health Minister Guy Barnett confirmed the plans in response to questions from his Labor shadow Ella Haddad during State Parliament on Thursday.

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“I can confirm we will not be privatising kitchen services at the LGH,” Barnett said.

“Yes, they will be moving outside of the Launceston General Hospital precinct to elsewhere to provide more opportunities for health services to be provided.”

Haddad asked Barnett if the government planned to deal with its budget crisis by outsourcing public sector jobs.

Health Minister Guy Barnett. Image / Pulse

“Can you confirm you plan to relocate kitchen and food services away from the Launceston General Hospital and to privatise parts of the service’s operations?” she asked.

Barnett said the move was about improving healthcare services.

“We will always do everything that we can to maximise efficiencies in terms of getting improvements in our health care services delivered,” he said.

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The LGH Precinct Master Plan proposes relocating the kitchen to an offsite location to free up space for expansion of critical non-clinical services.

A review of the kitchen facilities and its functions will determine what options exist to achieve this, Barnett said.

“Relocation of the LGH kitchen will allow back-of-house services such as waste holding and linen facilities to expand to meet the forecast demand at the site whilst limiting impact on clinical service delivery.”

The Launceston General Hospital. Image / Pulse

The smaller kitchen on level one will remain to service the hospital cafe and provide limited onsite services.

“The use of off-site kitchens to service health facilities is not uncommon at modern hospitals and is the model currently used in the Royal Hobart Hospital, where the production kitchen is successfully staffed by Department of Health personnel,” Barnett said.

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