REGIONAL HEALTH CARE REPORT THE KEY TO DRIVING MAJOR REFORM: MP

Thursday, 5 May 2022

 

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today declared he will fight tooth and nail to see all recommendation from a damning report into the state of regional health care implemented, arguing the findings must be a catalyst for real and immediate change.

 

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote New South Wales, was tabled today and handed down 22 findings and 44 recommendations.

 

Mr Marshall said he will make it his goal to address the ‘historic failures’ of underfunding, resourcing and recruiting which are outlined in the report.

 

“The first finding says it all, ‘regional and remote patients have poorer health outcomes and greater premature deaths compared to metropolitan areas,” Mr Marshall said.

 

“This report is an absolute indictment on the regional healthcare system and vindicates everything the community and I have been saying about the dire lack of health services and resourcing which is putting patient’s lives at risk.

 

“The sad part is none of the recommendations are rocket science – review funding models, increase staffing and overhaul the incentives and training structures to encourage more doctors to work in the bush.

 

“The government has all the mechanisms at its disposal for total reform; the evidence, a roadmap, a Minister for Regional Health and it will have a Regional Health Division – there are no excuses and today I call on it to fully support all recommendations.

 

“This document leaves no stone unturned and neither will I in my campaign to save what is obviously a health care system in its death throes.”

 

Mr Marshall said it was important that recommendations around the training and incentive programs for regional GPs are adopted by the State and Federal Government as a matter of urgency.

 

“We know many issues within the public health system could be addressed by having a greater number of qualified GP’s living in rural areas and offering Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) services at our hospitals,” he said.

 

“I fully endorse all recommendations to expedite rural GP training, increase the number of training positions, incentivise relocation and improve overall working conditions for GPs.

 

“The flow on effects in regards to reduced nurse workload and greater continuity of care for patients will be huge, giving improved coverage from birth to death.

 

“These changes do however need the Australian Government to pull its socks up and make a greater financial and structural contribution, none of which is happening at the moment.”

 

Mr Marshall said he was particularly pleased with the recommendations targeting the reform of Local Health District structure.

 

“Not only is this about increasing funding but it is also about addressing systemic managerial failings within our LHDs,” he said.

 

“I welcome any steps which will see greater community involvement and input into the running of LHDs, in particular the revival of the Local Health Advisory Committees.

 

“If Hunter New England Local Health District is to remain in its current form, then we need these bodies at a grass roots level to report and provide feedback on gaps in service delivery.

 

“The establishment of a Health Administration Ombudsman to review concerns around the administration of LHDs would have a massive job in the current climate but would be an important step in restoring patient confidence in the public health system.

 

“The committee has set down a two year reporting timeframe for these recommendations and work must start today on their implementation.”

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