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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Regional Health : promises, mediocrity, tardiness and inequity delivering poor outcomes

The Parliamentary Inquiry into outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remotes NSW found that residents in rural, regional and remote NSW:

  • Have significantly poorer health outcomes, greater incidents of chronic disease and greater premature deaths when comparted to their metropolitan counterparts (Finding 1);

  • Have inferior access to health and hospital services, especially those living in remote towns and locations and Indigenous communities (Finding 20);

  • Face significant financial challenges in order to access diagnosis, treatment and other health services compared to those living in metropolitan cities (Finding 3)

The inquiry also found inequities when it comes to the provision of health services to rural, regional and remote NSW, in particular:

  • There is a critical shortage of health professionals across rural, regional and remote communities (Finding 9); and

  • There has been a historic failure by both state and Federal governments to attract, support and retain health professionals, especially doctors and nurses in rural, regional and remote areas (Finding 11).

These findings were echoed today in a report from the Australia Institute: The Unlucky Country, Life Expectancy and Health in Regional and Remote Australia. Blind Freddy knows that significant investment is needed in rural, regional and remote NSW and metropolitan NSW to service the growing needs of the NSW population and to address the inequity of health outcomes between them. Irrespective of the outcome of the March NSW election a Deputy Secretary for Rural Health who is accountable for implementing all recommendations from the rural health inquiry and must be tasked with driving reform and improving the health outcomes for rural and remote communities across NSW. Too little too late the current government announce "We will employ 10,000 additional health workers over the next four years, meaning more nurses and doctors in your local hospitals and health facilities, ready to help when you need them". The reality is that the current government, who are the government that the Parliamentary Inquiry has found to be wanting in rural, regional and remote NSW, have had 12 years in government and have failed. Now they promise 10,000 additional health workers over the next four years across NSW. But they make no promises on nurse ratios. NSW Labor is offering:

  • Implement the NSW parliament’s rural health inquiry recommendations

  • Fund 500 additional regional paramedics in the first term of a Minns Labor government;

  • Introduce minimum and enforceable safe staffing levels to public hospitals, starting with emergency departments; and

  • Fund an additional 29 McGrath Breast Care nurses to support people right across New South Wales.

  • Boost funding for Women’s Health Centres to $100 million over five years to ensure the 20 centres across the state can operate sustainably and deliver health services that meet the needs of the community.

  • Open Eurobodalla Hospital at level four status

Ryan Park, Shadow Minister for Health said “The NSW Liberal National Government’s failure to safeguard our health system was put on full display during the parliamentary inquiry into rural and regional health. “This analysis highlights that there has been little improvement due to the government’s complete inaction. “This is just the latest in a long line of consequences for years of neglect, which has seen hospital waiting times balloon and one in five (19 per cent) of nurses thinking about leaving their current patient care position within the next 12 months. “What is clear is that while the government likes to cut ribbons on shiny new buildings, there is a dire need for additional resources and staff to help address this health crisis.” The Member for Bega added "Unfortunately, this is another report demonstrating the life-threatening inequality of rural, regional, and remote health services."

"As confirmed in the NSW parliamentary inquiry into health outcomes and access to health services in rural, regional, and remote NSW, due to the lack of local services, people in the country wait longer, travel further, and have more advanced disease than their metropolitan counterparts.

"Over the past 12 years my rural electorate has become less than 60% self-sufficient for general medical care and in some areas less than 25% for mental health and children’s health services.

‘Hundreds of local residents having to travel hundreds of kilometres for health services which should be provided locally. This is widening the gap in health care even further for our Indigenous population. It is no wonder that rural health workers have had enough".


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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