As the NSW Shadow Minister for Health I advocated for this important inquiry. I had heard too many tragic stories of families losing their loved ones because they were failed by a system that is underfunded and understaffed.
It became quite apparent to me that, there are two different levels of healthcare in NSW. One for the cities and one for the bush. Our community expect and deserve better than this.
This landmark inquiry that focuses on hospitals and health care across rural and regional NSW has to date heard damning evidence pointing to a health system in crisis and in urgent need of prioritising especially for those living outside the major cities.
It is important that this inquiry be focussed on solutions not just the issues. There certainly are plenty of stories that should be told but we need to ensure that in order to improve services we are demanding change. If this inquiry only focussed on the problems, there will be little expectation on the NSW Government to implement solutions, which is what the community is demanding.
There is an opportunity in this inquiry to reframe the discussion around solutions.
We need the inquiry to be focussed on what works, why it works and how to adapt and implement it in other rural and remote areas to improve outcomes.
I have already attended many hearings and have listened to critical testimony to the Inquiry. At these hearings we have heard locals describe the situation as “atrocious” and that they are in “dire straits”. The hearings have continued to highlight the desperate need for increased support and additional resources.
The Government must pay attention and act. They have a serious crisis on their hands and they are failing every single person who chooses to live and work in rural and regional NSW.