NSW Government are having an inquiry into regional health.
NSW Government are having an inquiry into regional health.

Have your say, ask for better rural health now

SUBMISSIONS into the NSW inquiry for rural and regional health close this weekend.

The state inquiry aimed to look at health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.

Submissions about individual health care experiences will inform thinking about the general provision and availability of health services in non-metropolitan areas.

However, this inquiry will not be conducting investigations or reviews of individual cases.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin encouraged residents to make submissions ahead of the Sunday, December 13 cut off period.

Ms Saffin said the inquiry came about due to public pressure on the NSW Government to do better for rural and regional NSW residents with many service provision areas, and significantly, with health care.

"The health outcomes for rural and regional residents is much poorer than for city residents and the NSW Public Health Information Unit's research shows this," Ms Saffin said.

Three key findings were:

1. Avoidable deaths can be twice as likely in rural and regional communities when compared to cities

2. The median age of death for those in Sydney (79) was more than a decade higher than residents in the most remote communities (66)

3. The highest rates of preventable hospitalisation and preventable chronic disease were in regional and rural areas.

"Too many locals have experienced missing doctors, an absence of services, and in the Tenterfield (Northern Tablelands) area inter-hospital transfers a long way from home when they could just be transferred across the border into a nearby Queensland hospital," Ms Saffin said.

"I have asked the committee to hold hearings in our electorate of Lismore, particularly in Tenterfield and Murwillumbah, in light of some ongoing issues which I have been lobbying on.

"This Parliamentary inquiry is an opportunity to tell such stories to the parliament through its inquiry. We need this inquiry to shed a light on it, so that workable long term solutions can be found."

The inquiry will consider:

• Health outcomes for people living in rural, regional and remote NSW

• Staffing challenges and allocations

• Access and availability of services

• Planning systems

• Capital and recurrent health expenditure

"This is about fairness for rural and regional residents and the very basic human right to health care," Ms Saffin said.

"I encourage locals to make a submission directly and contact me if you need information or assistance."

The closing date for submissions is Sunday, December 13 with public hearings to take place in the new year.

To make a submission, visit www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.