Ambulance vehicles outside Lismore Base Hospital.
Ambulance vehicles outside Lismore Base Hospital.

OPINION: Chris Crawford's view on local health

I HAVE a passion for good health. Being healthy is one of the strongest contributors to having a good quality of life.

It allows people to achieve their full potential, which is difficult if they are struggling with health problems.

What makes me particularly passionate about health are the human elements of health care: satisfying the needs of patients; the high quality clinicians and staff who I work with; embracing ways of improving health services; working with cooperative teams and collaborating with our partners.

The strength of our public health services is particularly important to the Northern Rivers community given the higher level of socio-economic disadvantage that exists here.

Over the last 15 years I have worked within the Northern Rivers health system and it has been a privilege to work alongside so many committed and compassionate people. Their goal is to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.

From them I have learnt by listening and this has led to me personally striving and encouraging others to strive to improve the health of the community, by improving health services and the way people are assisted to stay well.

The opportunity to lead change to improve our health services is a challenge that makes me particularly passionate.

The changes that have occurred to the Northern Rivers health system since I joined it have been significant.

The pace of change in health - driven by factors such as new equipment, new drugs and new techniques - is so fast that if we stand still we are actually going backwards.

Some changes, such as transferring services from one locality to another or replacing one type of service with another, are difficult with some staff and community members reluctant to let go of the old ways.

However, once a change has occurred and has been settled in, usually the general response is positive.


Chris Crawford moved to the Northern Rivers in 2000. He was the chief executive officer of the Northern Rivers Area Health Service from 2000-2004, then chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service from 2005-2010 and is currently the chief executive of the Northern NSW Local Health District (2011 onwards)