Wednesday, 11 May 2022
State Budget has to kick-start reforms for regional health
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has used a speech on the floor of State Parliament last night to double down on his calls for a complete overhaul of the rural and regional health care system, declaring there is no better opportunity than the upcoming State Budget to start reforming the sector.
Mr Marshall said the current funding models and management structures within NSW Health showed contempt for the people who live outside of Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong.
“Change is such a simple word, but one which strikes fear into the hearts of many policy makers and public servants, particularly those in NSW Health,” Mr Marshall said.
“I renew my call for the Government to implement all 44 recommendations from the recent Upper House inquiry and to make a start on it right now.
“We must scrap the failed visiting medical officer system in regional areas, employ doctors directly in our district hospitals and re‑empower local communities.
“If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we have always got.
“The State Parliament, and this Government, now have a document that unequivocally shines a light on the policy and structural issues that are plaguing our rural and regional healthcare system, and that constructively provides a step‑by‑step road map to address them.”
Mr Marshall also reconfirmed his position there needs to be greater accountability for Local Health Districts (LHDs) and improvements made to workplace culture for staff.
“The level of transparency and accountability that the LHDs have to the communities, which fund them, and in some cases to their own Minister, is completely non‑existent,” he said.
“Once again I say how pleased I am with the recommendations for reforms targeting our health district structures.
“Many people who work within the healthcare system are clearly terrified to speak out and be honest about what is going on – that has to end.
“I have been one of the most adamant and loudest critics of the senior management, particularly Michael DiRienzo, the CEO of Hunter New England Health. He has to go, as far as I and my communities are concerned.
“The recommendation for an independent health administration ombudsman to review concerns around the administration of LHDs is critical.
“So too is the revival of the local health advisory committees and health advisory committees that have teeth and that have local people from local communities holding the health service managers and health district CEOs to account.
“In terms of health care in the bush, it is a bloody raw deal. It has to change. We have the road map and we should not delay implementing it.”