Mayor calls for better rural health
Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke is urging regional and rural councils to get behind the efforts of the Country Mayors Association to ensure healthcare is fixed for NSW residents.
Mayor Bourke headed to Sydney late last month for the Country Mayors Association of NSW’s Rural Health Forum to discuss key health issues impacting communities across rural and regional NSW.
It follows a scathing report from a parliamentary inquiry which described the health system efforts in rural and regional NSW as a “historic failure”.
The inquiry determined that rural residents endure “significantly poorer health outcomes, greater incidents of chronic disease and greater premature deaths” than residents from metropolitan counterparts.
The findings also found that there is a culture of fear, health workers at breaking point, and the sick and elderly being left to fend for themselves in a system in crisis.
Mayor Bourke said the forum was well attended with Minister for Regional Health/ Minister for Mental Health the Hon Minister Bronnie Taylor MLC, and Shadow Minister for Health and Mental Health Ryan Park both present, as well as CEO of the Rural Doctors Network Mr Richard Colbran, and National Rural Health Commissioner of Australia Adjunct Professor Ruth Stewart.
“It was very refreshing to hear that both Minister Taylor and Shadow Minister Ryan agreed that it was of the utmost importance that the consideration and debate on this very important matter of regional and rural health should be approached on a bipartisan basis and should be bought before parliament as early as possible,” Mayor Bourke said.
“The Inquiry found what everybody in regional and rural NSW knows, that health and hospital services in country NSW are below standard when compared to the service levels experienced by those residing in metropolitan areas.”
Mayor Bourke said it was important that rural and regional councils get behind and ensure that all 44 recommendations of the Inquiry are adopted by Parliament by writing to the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.
“This is our opportunity to redress the deficiencies in regional and rural health delivery,” he said.
“We cannot let our communities down.”