For the first time in NSW, a Deputy Secretary for Regional Health has been appointed as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to improving health outcomes for regional communities.
Regional Health Minister Ryan Park said the creation of this role fulfills an election commitment to ensure regional health issues remain front and centre of the decision-making process within the Ministry of Health.
Mr Park said Mr Luke Sloane, the former Coordinator General, Regional Health Division at NSW Health, has been elevated to the new role.
“I’m determined to tackle some of the key healthcare issues facing our regional communities including prioritising the regional health workforce,” Mr Park said.
“The Deputy Secretary for Regional Health will play an important role in this as a strong advocate for resources and staffing at the decision-making table.
“Luke Sloane has demonstrated his dedication to improving health outcomes and access to health services for people living in regional, rural and remote NSW, while leading the Regional Health Division.”
The Deputy Secretary for Regional Health will be supported by the Regional Health Division which was established in April 2022 and is working to strengthen and promote regionally-based, patient-centred approaches to the delivery of health services in regional NSW.
NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce AM said the new Deputy Secretary for Regional Health will work closely with the Ministry of Health, regional local health districts and stakeholders to progress initiatives already underway.
“The Deputy Secretary will have a key focus on community engagement, regional workforce, contribution to primary care reform and access to transport and accommodation,” Ms Pearce said.
It is not known if the Deputy Secretary will engage with the Eurobodalla and Bega residents and advocate on their behalf for the commitment of a radio therapy facility that already has a financial commitment of $8 million from the Federal Government and full support of the Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips and local Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland.
On June 29th, 2023 Dr Michael Holland MP spoke to NSW Parliament in support of a Notice of Motion for the establishment by the NSW Labor government of a Special Committee implementing the recommendations of the inquiry into Rural, Regional, and Remote Health Care. NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce AM said “Mr Sloane is perfectly placed to help build on the excellent work already being done as we strive to deliver the best possible health care for people living in regional NSW.” Mr Sloane said the Regional Health Division has accomplished significant milestones, including the Regional Health Strategic Plan 2022-2032 and NSW Health’s commitment to the NSW Rural Health Inquiry. “Over the past year, I’ve travelled to all parts of regional NSW to see and hear the challenges faced by communities when it comes to accessing the quality health care they deserve,” Mr Sloane said. “I’m confident as we continue to implement the recommendations of the NSW Rural Health Inquiry we will continue to see meaningful improvements in the provision of health care services to these important communities.”