New service to help chronic disease patients Wed 3 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health Download hi-res version Download hi-res version Another key plank of the Tasmanian Health Plan has been delivered with the opening of the $22.5 million Northern Integrated Care Service (NICS). The new facility was officially opened today by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Premier, Lara Giddings. Ms Giddings said the NICS would help northern Tasmanians with chronic and complex health issues manage their conditions and access higher quality care. "Empowering people to take greater control of their chronic conditions has the dual advantage of improving health outcomes and taking pressure off our hospital system," Ms Giddings said. "Integrated Care Centres like this one are a key feature of Tasmania's Health Plan, which I launched as Health Minister, and it is fantastic to see the gap between primary and acute health care being filled by these services. "Today's announcement follows the opening of the $18.5 million Clarence Integrated Care Centre and GP Super Clinic in July, which is already making a real difference for patients on Hobart's Eastern Shore." The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, said the new service would improve the health and wellbeing of the northern community. "It will also make it easier for people with chronic conditions to navigate the health system, including GPs, specialists, hospitals and primary health services," Ms O'Byrne said. "Research in 2007-08 showed that around 30 per cent of Tasmanians had four or more chronic conditions. "The NICS provides a range of centre-based and outreach services including integrated, multi-disciplinary services for people with diabetes, musculoskeletal conditions or requiring cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation." The NICS facility provides: • flexible use consulting rooms to encourage visiting clinicians • open plan staff rooms to encourage team work and collaboration among health professionals • an atrium for physical activities including exercise classes • a healthy eating café with space for patients and health professionals to meet • a demonstration kitchen for dieticians to lead healthy eating classes • a range of community training and meeting rooms The new service was funded by the Australian Government ($15 million), the Tasmanian Government ($3 million) and incorporates the University of Tasmania's new $4.5 million clinical school. "The links between the NICS and the Launceston Clinical School will ensure medical graduates of the future are well equipped to manage the emerging challenges of chronic disease,"Ms O'Byrne said.