Health Minister shuts down MCH operating theatre

Posted on
March 26, 2019
Media Releases

The Health Minister has this morning shut down all surgeries at the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH), standing down the operating theatre workforce and putting a stop to critical surgeries in what can only be described as an ideological and hysterical attack on workers and patients alike.

Minister Ferguson has unilaterally decided that it is more important to point-score against his own workforce than to provide safe and efficient surgery services to the people of North West Tasmania.

HACSU members who work in the operating theatre at the MCH have been engaged in a worker-led campaign for months to end the State Government’s wages policy.

Members’ industrial action has in fact seen more urgent surgeries happen more often, with workers doing their best to help fix the State Government’s health disaster.

Instead of any attempt to resolve the wages dispute with his own workforce or seek the assistance of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission,the Minister has put his own political interests ahead of the health of the Tasmanian people.

Rather than having professional and committed health workers at the MCH all day performing operations on patients – as they have been every day since the dispute began – Michael Ferguson has instead personally ensured that not one of the vulnerable Tasmanians currently on a waiting list for surgery will have their operation done at the MCH until the workers are allowed to return to work.


Quotes Attributable to Robbie Moore, HACSU Assistant State Secretary:

 “HACSU members at the Mersey Community Hospital are some of the most committed, professional and pivotal workers in our health system. They’ve been exercising their legitimate rights as workers to pressure the Government to make a fair offer and now they’ve been locked out of their workplace – a workplace that belongs to and is paid for by Tasmanian people, not the Government.”


“Our members are resolute. If the Minister thinks he can scare or bully our members, he does not know much about his own workforce.”


This moves the campaign to a place no dispute should go: workers being locked out. Our members are extremely upset that they are here, ready, willing and able to perform their jobs and they are treated with absolute disdain by a Minister that has not even offered to sit down with them or their representatives to hear their concerns. It’s ideologically-driven, mean spirited and disgraceful.


Michael Ferguson and this Government have taken a play straight from the plans of the worst of corporate Australia –locking workers out of their workplace.”


This proves what we’ve known all along: this Government, especially the Health Minister Michael Ferguson, have absolutely no respect for working people and are willing to shut down the operating theatre at a public hospital to demonstrate that fact.


The Minister is a joke. The only honourable thing he can do now is to immediately offer his resignation.

Tasmanians understand the health crisis. They know that the best way to start fixing the health system is to ensure we have the staff to provide the services we need, and they know that’s a very tough ask when Tasmanian health workers are the lowest paid in Australia.”

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form