The Healthy Communities Foundation Australia, one of Australia’s leading rural and remote community development for health institutes, welcomed the announcement of the new NSW Cabinet on Tuesday by new NSW Premier The Hon Chris Minns.
The Foundation CEO, Mark Burdack, said:
“The 2022 NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Rural Health, chaired by NSW Labor MLC Greg Donnelly, found that people in rural, regional and remote New South Wales have been “let down by the health system”.
It retold “stories of emergency departments with no doctors; of patients being looked after by cooks and cleaners; of excessive wait times for treatment; and of misdiagnoses and medical errors”.
The committee found that “residents of rural, regional and remote New South Wales have poorer health outcomes and inferior access to health and hospital services”.
“The Foundation applauds the new Government's promise to implement “all recommendations from the rural health inquiry … and improving the health outcomes for rural and remote communities across NSW”. In particular we are keen to work with the new Minister for Health on the recommendation to appoint an independent Rural Health Ombudsman to ensure accountability and good governance in the delivery of health care to rural and remote towns.
(SUPPLIED: Mark Burdack, Chief Executive Officer, The Healthy Communities Foundation Australia Ltd speaking at the National Health Workforce Summit in 2022)
“As the Report noted, rural and remote people in NSW are suffering as a result of the withdrawal of health services from our communities, and a toxic culture in the health system which has forced many rural GPs out of rural practice.
“As an organisation that has worked successfully with rural and remote communities over 20 years to build strong, sustainable and innovative solutions to improve health and hospital services we are keen to hit the ground running.
“We welcome the appointment of The Hon Ryan Park as Minister for Health and Minister for Regional Health in the Minns Labor Government. We have worked productively with the new Minister during his time in Opposition, and he has spent time talking directly with people in rural and remote communities in western NSW about their experiences accessing health care and the state of rural health.
“He has shown a nuanced understanding of the issues and the importance of addressing the social determinants of health, as well as the critical role of local GP/VMOs in NSW.
“We are also pleased to see Rural Health return to being the responsibility of the Health Minister. Rural and remote people do not see their health needs as different to those of the rest of the community. They want the concerns to be front and centre in Cabinet discussions.
“We also congratulate the new Minister for Regional NSW and Western NSW, The Hon Tara Moriatry. As the Member for Queanbeyan we look forward to working with someone who has personal experience of regional and rural issues and the growing gaps in services and opportunities.
“The Foundation is determined to work collaboratively with the new Government and members of parliament to support its work to deliver better outcomes for rural and remote people in NSW” said Mr Burdack.
For more information contact:
Mark Burdack FGIA GAICD BA BLegS (Hon)
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Rural Health, La Trobe University
Associate Investigator, Centre of Research Excellence for Strengthening Healthcare in Remote Australia, Menzies School of Health Research
Member, Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh