Premier Peter Gutwein will look at the provision of phones for people living in aged care homes.
In Question Time in State Parliament on Wednesday, Independent member for Clark Madeleine Ogilvie asked Mr Gutwein if he would ensure all Tasmanians in aged care homes had a phone in their rooms.
“The separation of loved ones from each other is a heavy burden and our marvellous elders in aged care want their own telephones in their rooms,” Ms Ogilvie said. “And why not? It’s not that difficult.
“This is a question of closing the digital divide.”
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Mr Gutwein said he would get feedback on phones for Tasmanians in aged care.
“I’m not certain of what the coverage is in terms of the number of older Tasmanian that actually have access to a mobile in their room or some form of communication device,” he said.
“In terms of understanding those gaps, I’m happy to take some advice and understand what that is and once we fully understand what that problem looks like, then we’ll determine whether or not we might take some further actions.”
Advocacy Tasmania chief executive Leanne Groombridge who has been campaigning for in-room phones welcomed Mr Gutwein’s commitment.
She has estimated 40 per cent of aged care residents do not have private in-room phones.
“Ms Ogilvy is spot on. Older people in residential aged care homes must be provided with an in-room phone now,” Ms Groombridge said.
“They’re currently subjected to visitor restrictions and feel imprisoned; no phone means they’re totally isolated from the outside world.
“Their mental health and wellbeing is being severely compromised.”
“I am hopeful that the Premier will take action for older Tasmanians where the commonwealth has abandoned them.”