New medical centre for Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

Lachlan Shire Council has received a $500,000 federal grant to build a new medical centre in Condobolin.
Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, announced Council’s grant application had been successful last Thursday.
The funding is part of the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program (NRRHIP), which aims to improve access to health services in rural and remote areas by providing funding for existing or new health facilities and enhancing the range of health services provided in these communities.
Similar grants also went to Brewarrina Shire Council for a refurbishment of the medical centre and to the Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice to go towards the purchase of new medical equipment in Dunedoo.
Mr Coulton said he would like to congratulate Lachlan Shire Council for their hard work in securing funding for the “vital” project.
“The funding is great news for Condobolin and also for the outlying towns and communities,” he said.
“The remoteness of Condobolin means many residents have to travel huge distances to receive medical assistance.
“This funding will (now) ensure the region has adequate health care services.”
General Manager of the Lachlan Shire, George Cowan, said the success of the grant application was extremely good news.
“This will allow Council to achieve long held health objectives and should allow us to employ more doctors,” he said.
“We have a very positive relationship with Ochre Health which has given us support in the way of doctors.”
George said the new centre would be built adjacent to the existing Melrose Street Medical Centre on an area of land which had been earmarked for development several years ago.
“We hope there will eventually be just one centre with two doctors in it,” he said.
“However you never know what the doctors will want to do.
“We have members of the community sitting on a committee for this project who will be meeting in several weeks time to discuss planning further.”

The Condobolin Argus – 10 years old

With The Condobolin Argus’ 10th birthday nearly upon us, first week of May, it seemed appropriate for a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the issues and events that have been critical in making The Argus the influential and relevant community newspaper it is today.
With so many editions archived in the depths of the Argus library, the task of revisiting important stories and campaigns seemed daunting at first, though with much perseverance, the team at The Argus has managed to compile a fairly concise list of ten achievements it feels have been most relevant to the Lachlan Shire community.
They are (in no particular order):
Joining the battle to keep the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station up and running.
In March 2009, The Argus reported on the NSW Labor Government’s decision to close the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station (CARAS). A surge of public protest culminating in a rally in Condobolin’s main street reversed that decision.
Helping prevent the closure of Target Country in Condobolin.
In January 2003, The Argus confirmed Condobolin Target Country would remain open despite pressure to close the store. The Argus supported the store during the resulting six month trial period through a ‘shop local’ campaign.
Helping to promote the Condobolin skate park project.
The Argus has been supporting the Condobolin skate park project for a number of years. The project is finally becoming a reality with the final draft becoming available for public comment following Lachlan Shire Council Meeting on 20th April.
Supporting the RTA’s ‘Three Shires’ initiative to help reduce the region’s road toll.
This project aims to increase road safety throughout the Lachlan, Forbes and Parkes shires. Part of this project has been the wheelie bin initiative, encouraging children to decorate wheelie bins in an effort to highlight road safety. The Argus played a large role in encouraging people to take part in this project, and now also has a very happy looking bin.
Providing full yet sensitive coverage of breaking news including human tragedies.
For example on the 2nd of December 2005, a ten-seater Piper Chieftain light plane crashed on Neil Baxter’s property ‘Craig End’. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the loss of several lives and resulted in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau inquiry. The Argus printed continuous coverage of the incident from the crash to release of the inquiry.
Coverage of natural disasters.
The Argus has been instrumental in keeping the community aware of various fires and floods which have affected the region over the past ten years. With the real time news delivery available with the internet, The Argus can now deliver information to readers as soon as natural disasters unfold. This was most recently demonstrated during the floods in Ungarie last month.
Promotion of local tourism initiatives, particularly ‘Utes in the Paddock’.
Owing to the Argus’ commitment to improving tourism in the Lachlan Shire (and perhaps due to the fact our editor is one of the artists) Utes in the Paddock has become a ‘must see’ on any visitor’s to do list. Beginning in 2007, The Utes in the Paddock Project now includes 15 ute artworks and has been nominated for a NSW Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award and People’s Choice Tourist Experience Award.
Coverage of Aboriginal issues and events in the Lachlan Shire.
The Argus has strived to help ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous inequality though a focus on providing fair and unbiased reporting on events and issues important to the Wiradjuri community. The Argus has frequently reported positively on Aboriginal tourism, educational and employment initiatives.
Promotion of major events such as the Condo 750, Tattoo,  Condo B & S and our Australian Idol Shannon Noll.
The Argus has thrown its support behind various community oriented events over its ten year history. This promotion has been in the form of editorials, advertorials and extensive advertising features before, during and after events.
Support of local Charity Organisations
When major charity events and fundraisers happen in the Lachlan Shire, The Argus is always in the thick of the action, lending its promotional power to the event. Various charities and charitable organisations.

Support for Community much more than just words in a newspaper.
Born out of a large gathering of members from right across the community forming the view more could be done to promote our region, The Condobolin Argus actively pursues promotional opportunities in may different ways.
The paper looks to attract staff with high level skills and talents that offer its community additional benefits. One staff member worked tirelessly on submissions and promotion for the Professional Bull Riders event. That event attracting large crowds enhancing business for the local community. Yet another staff member successfully competed the local Show Girl promotion being awarded State Runner Up at the Royal Easter Show, thereby doing a magnificent job of promoting our region.
Focus for The Condobolin Argus is very firmly on assisting local community to promote itself, diligently managing advertisers funds to employ high level skills providing a holistic service. One portfolio sponsored by The Condobolin Argus in this way is that of ‘Community Promotions Officer’.
All of this has only been made possible by your strong support over the past ten years. Thank you for helping us to provide this service to our community.
To help your local community newspaper celebrate its 10th birthday and plan for many more, please drop on by the office at 93 Bathurst Street Condobolin during the first week of May -We’ll have some birthday cake.

Vaccination best defence against seasonal flu

With winter fast approaching, the Health Service is urging people to vaccinate against seasonal flu as it remains the best defence.
It is likely that influenza strains circulating overseas, including H1N1 or ‘swine flu’ will be prevalent within NSW during winter in 2011, said Dr Therese Jones, Associate Director Population Health, Western Clinical Support Division, NSW Health.
“Vaccination is the best protection and will also reduce the likelihood that you will pass on the virus to someone else,” said Dr Jones.
“It is important people get vaccinated because you are not only protecting yourself, but you are also helping to prevent flu spreading amongst the community and those who are vulnerable. The flu virus is constantly changing, it is necessary to get vaccinated every year,” she said.
Dr Jones said vaccination is recommended in autumn to allow time for immunity to develop before the flu season starts.
She added anyone who received a flu vaccination towards end of the last flu season should still be vaccinated again before this flu season.
“You cannot get flu from receiving the vaccine, as the flu vaccine does not contain any live virus.”
Dr Jones also said the same applies for swine flu. If you were vaccinated against the swine flu last year you still need the seasonal vaccination this year as flu vaccine protection decreases over 12 months and without this year’s vaccine you will be vulnerable to the illness this winter.
“The targeted at-risk groups who can access seasonal influenza vaccine for free has been broadened to include all Aboriginal people 15 years and over, pregnant women, the elderly and all people six months and over with chronic diseases,” said Dr Jones.
Seasonal influenza vaccination can be available now at your GP and Aboriginal Medical Service.
Dr Jones said practising flu etiquette and hand washing was also important to help reduce transmission of influenza amongst the community, because it is caused by a virus which spread easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air and by hands carrying the virus.
What should I do if I develop symptoms of the flu?
If you are mildly unwell but not at increased risk, you should stay at home until you are better – but call your doctor if you are worried, have severe symptoms or at risk for severe disease.
When visiting a doctor, call ahead to see if you can be put in a separate waiting area. Ask for a mask if you are coughing and have to wait near other people.
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family against seasonal influenza and the Western & Far Western Local Health Networks are urging people to start now.

New doctor at Melrose Street Medical Centre

The arrival of new doctor Dr Obi Ekeocha at the Melrose St. Medical Centre leads to extended opening hours. D.G. By Dominic Geiger

The Melrose Street Medical Centre in Condobolin is once again open five days a week thanks to the addition of new doctor Obi Ekeocha.
The medical centre has been operating on a part-time basis for the past six months due to the absence of a full-time doctor.
Originally from Nigeria and having studied orthopaedic surgery in the United Kingdom, Dr Ekeocha said he was happy to have finally settled in a rural setting.
“I started practising in Lightning Ridge, and most recently I have been working in Stawell in Victoria,” Dr Ekeocha said.
“I came to Condobolin because I missed the rural lifestyle and I heard good things about the place.”
Dr Ekeocha said the fact he was the only full time doctor on staff wasn’t daunting, as he had been in the same situation while working in Lightning Ridge.
“I want to say that all patients are welcome here,” Dr Ekeocha said.
“I have experience with Aboriginal health and I’m sure everyone will be comfortable in my office.”
Dr Ekeocha said he was particularly impressed with the friendliness of the people he had so far encountered in Condobolin.
“I became a bit lost when I drove in to town,” he said.
“Some people just walked over from their veranda and helped me by giving me directions.”
Practice Manager of the medical centre Lindy Hall said Ochre Health had put in an extraordinary effort finding the right person for the job.
“They really do go out of their way to find experienced doctors for rural areas,” she said.
“Obi’s such a great addition to the team.”

Hospital mergers set to downgrade Forbes facilities

By Dominic Geiger

The potential merger of basic services including maternity wards at Forbes and Parkes hospitals has prompted an angry outcry from politicians, medical service workers and members of the public over the past week.
This proposal will significantly impact on Lachlan Shire women preparing to give birth following the closure of the Condobolin Health Service’s maternity unit in 2004.
In the most recent development, a spokesperson from the Western Local Health Network said no decision would be made on which services would be moved until further consultations with local doctors took place.
“There are more meetings planned with local doctors to address the issue,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month the Western Local Health Network had released a statement which said there has been a “proposed model (of hospital integration) presented… which details a suite of different but complimentary services which would be provided at either X and Y facilities.”
Mayor of Forbes Shire Council Phyllis Miller said the Western Local Health Network was a “toothless tiger” and under no circumstances would the Forbes or Parkes maternity ward, emergency service or surgical service shut down.
“In planning the services that will be merged, the Western NSW Local Health Network is flagging maternity as a possible option,” she said.
“The chances of this happening are nil; strategically speaking, it’s crucial to maintain both Forbes and Parkes.
“We are more than happy to negotiate other services, but we refuse to negotiate on emergency, maternity and surgical services.”
On the 14th of this month, ABC online reported several doctors at Forbes Hospital were threatening to quit if the merger of any of the three above mentioned services went ahead.
The staff member who was interviewed, Doctor Greg Whittaker, said he and other doctors at Forbes Hospital would be likely to leave within the year if the merger went ahead.
Ms Miller said the reason facilities such as maternity wards couldn’t be shut down was because having just one hospital servicing the needs of such a heavily populated region was completely unsustainable.
“It’s about having a holistic health service,” she said.
“We are entitled to the sustainability of both towns and we need both Parkes and Forbes Hospitals fully operational.”

Cover- up crusader

Dr. Jeremy Allen champions the use of mosquito nets and personal repellants to combat the onslaught of disease-carrying biting insects. Photo: Karen ToothBy Melissa Waller
Condobolin GP Dr Jeremy Allen is urging local residents to take precautions against mosquito borne diseases this summer, with recent rains leading to an influx of mosquitoes in the area.
“Stagnant water resulting from recent wet conditions has lead to a huge increase in mosquitoes, and we are expecting a similar increase in diseases such as Ross River Fever and Barmah Forrest,” Dr Allen said.
The effects of these conditions can be devastating and is easily preventable; symptoms such as fatigue and muscle and joints aches can be early signs of these diseases.
Dr Allen said he has already seen the impact of vast numbers of mosquitoes this season in patients coming through his clinic.
“We are seeing large numbers of bites, especially on children, so it’s essential for people to take precautions,” he said.
Mosquito repellents, citronella candles and mosquito nets are easy ways for people to protect themselves against mosquito bites and there is also some research suggesting that increased vitamin B intake can help ward off these biting nasties (although these findings are yet to be proved definitively conclusive).
“I personally use a mosquito net at night and find this is one of the best preventions, as mosquitoes seem to strike most when people are sleeping,” Dr Allen said.
“Also applying mosquito repellent and placing citronella candles outside will help protect you when you’re outdoors.”
Mosquito nets can be purchased from most camping and department stores, and most are very simple to install and use.

Health chief named for Central West

General Practitioner and Board Director of the NSW Rural Doctors Network Dr Robin Williams has been appointed as Chairperson of the Western Local Health Network (LHN).
Dr Williams is a Visiting Medical Officer at Molong and Yeoval and commenced as a Resident Medical Officer at Dubbo Base Hospital in 1985.
He has also been a member of the Greater Western Area Health Advisory Council for four years.
The networks will be established in January 2011 with the State Government introducing 18 Local Health Networks to replace the current eight Area Health Services.
The Western LHN is similar to the Greater Western Area Health Service Catchment which includes Condobolin, Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst.
Broken Hill and surrounding communities have been placed in the Far West LHN.
The State Government said the reforms are designed to offer extra funding and transform governance and decision making for public hospital services.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt said the Chairs of Governing will play an important role in the establishment and administration of the networks.
“The Chairs for the Local Health Networks will provide strong leadership, and respond to the health needs of communities in their local areas,” Ms Tebbutt said.
“As a first step, the Chairs will be involved in the selection of Council members and Chief Executives of each network, prior to the implementation of the networks.”
The networks will be administered by a Chief Executive as well as a Governing Council that includes clinicians, health and health care management experts and community representatives.
Dr Stephen Flecknoe-Brown was appointed as Chairperson of the Far West LHN.
Former NSW Premier Morris Iemma and former Liberal Health Minister and Deputy Liberal Leader Ron Phillips were also among the people selected to chair the health networks.

Sheldon’s fight for survival

Few people have such passion and gusto for life as former resident of Condobolin and terminal cancer sufferer Sheldon Robinson.
Diagnosed with bone cancer osteoscarcoma at 13, the youngest son of former Condobolin residents Michelle and Ken Robinson, has suffered an enduring battle.
In 2002 when he was first diagnosed,  he had part of his knee and leg replaced with a steel one with doctors giving him slim chances for survival.
With the endless support of family and friends who rallied behind their loved comrade, Sheldon endured numerous treatments of chemotherapy which adversely affected and damaged multiple organs in his body including affecting his hearing and sight.
Throughout his ordeal Sheldon has constantly remained positive and strong, never complaining with his first concern always his family and how they dealt with his illness.
By 2010 Sheldon developed secondary tumours in the lungs and again underwent the mental and physical side effects of chemotherapy all the while trying to make the transition from teenager to young man and finding his own identity.
His bravery and positive attitude has always endured with his sister commenting that one Christmas Sheldon argued with his doctors until they eventually let him go home for Christmas Day to spend it with his much-loved family.
Without a word of his pain throughout the celebrations, Sheldon was rushed back to hospital on Boxing Day having suffered a collapsed lung.
During the last year Sheldon has been undergoing last resort treatment during which time he lost his father to heart disease.
On the anniversary of his father’s death Sheldon faced yet another battle with a routine scan revealing another tumour invading his chest. With only one doctor making the decision to try and remove it, his family and friends were inconsolable when the surgeon returned from the theatre and said the tumours invasion was to extreme and unable to be removed.
From a thirteen year old who defied the odds, Sheldon’s fight for survival continues even now although his time is rapidly coming to an end.
During the times he wasn’t in a hospital bed Sheldon’s life was one of simple pleasures – spending time with his family and enjoying his one love of fishing.
Cafe Romo’s are currently selling raffle tickets to raise money for Sheldon to go towards his trust fund (which will help cover funeral and associated costs) and for him to fulfil his bucket list wish of going on one last fishing trip.
Tickets are available at Cafe Romo’s at $1.00 each or 5 for $4.00. The raffle prize includes Cafe Romo food vouchers, car cleaning pack, BBQ cover, Fishing tackle box, baking pans, cake baking kit, Tupperware and more.
It will be drawn on Monday 8 November with all proceeds going towards Sheldon’s trust fund and bucket list.

Surgery on Wheels

Condobolin's Mobile Health Van is now on the roadBy Sally Willoughby
Having warranted an immense amount of elbow-grease and help from a long list of volunteers, Condobolin’s Mobile Health Van is set to be on the road for business by next week.
Boasting all the equipment that would be found in any health clinic, the van was equipped by the Rural Health Service, Jeremy Allen’s Medical Centre and a donation of $3000 from the Condobolin unit of the National Servicemen for a generator, surgical lamp and fridge.
Initially the idea of Dr Jeremy Allen, the project was inspired by a gentleman in Willowbend who was unable to gain access to necessary medical services.
Community Nurse Mandy Ryan said that the renovated caravan is “just like a surgery on wheels”.
“We’ll be able to do anything and take it anywhere,” said Mandy of the van which has a waiting room with separate door and clinic room fitted with a patient bed, medical equipment, sink and desk area.
Mandy thanked the NASHOS for their donation and Jeremy Allen’s office and Rural Health Service for their donations of equipment and said a special mention to Matthew Rue who put a lot of work into renovating the van and Mark Whitla who built the mattress.

Lake Cargelligo hits the jackpot with full lake

After years of battling water woes in which the Western NSW town of Lake Cargelligo was given the unfortunate title of “epicentre of the drought”, the long suffering community feels like it has hit the jackpot with their Lake system now full to over brimming.
So, in typical country style, the little town is celebrating the bonanza of a good season with a Casino themed Charity Ball to be held on Saturday   9th October.
The “Casino Royale” Charity Ball will be hosted   by the Lake Cargelligo  Bi Annual Spring Ball committee, a group of young women who came together in late 2004 and who have now staged three very successful Balls, with significant funds raised for the local hospital, schools, preschool and “Cudgellagong Court”,  aged care units.
Living in the country can sometimes mean that the opportunity to dress to the nines and go out dancing to live music can be limited, particularly when times have been so tough. With this in mind, the committee has managed to combine a chance to have a great night as well as helping raise funds for the Lake Cargelligo community.
Music will be provided by the very popular band “Kiss My Brass” and the auction will be presided over by Tullibigeal auctioneer, Darren Frankel.
Perhaps one of the most original ideas the committee has come up with over the years is the Bachelor Auction. At past balls, bidding wars have erupted between tables trying to get a particular bachelor as their exclusive dance partner for the evening. It is all in good fun and is a great way to raise funds.
The proceeds of the 2010 “Casino Royale Ball” will be shared between the Lake Cargelligo Arts and Crafts Association, who every year for the past 28 years has staged the Blue Waters arts exhibition, and the newly formed Lake Cargelligo Men’s Shed and  Lake Cargelligo Curlew Hospital Auxiliary.
Lake Cargelligo is situated an hour and a half from Griffith, two hours from Parkes and three hours from Dubbo, Wagga Wagga and Orange.  The town has two motels and two hotels as well as a Caravan Park.  More information about accommodation in the town can be accessed from the town’s website lakecargelligo.net.au
Tickets for the 2010 “Casino Royale” Ball are on sale from this week. For more information contact via email: lcspringball@hotmail.com,  phone 0268981151 or check out the committees’ Facebook group page,  Lake Cargelligo Bi-Annual Charity Ball.

Partnership agreement to improve Aboriginal health outcomes

BA partnership agreement is signed between CAHS and GWAHSy Sally Willoughby
Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service (CAHS) and Greater Western Area Health Service signed a partnership agreement last week to signify their commitment to improve health outcomes for the local aboriginal community.
GWAHS Condobolin Health Service Manager, Kevin Ryan, said the agreement was important to show Condobolin’s commitment to ‘close the gap’.
“Closing the gap is an initiative of the government and we aim to continue that with this commitment to work together so we can get better health outcomes for Aboriginal people,” Mr Ryan said.

The mortality rate of [aboriginal] children is still high, chronic diseases are high in aboriginal people as are drug and alcohol issues…this partnership allows us to work collaboratively and share expertise between organisations to gain better health outcomes for our local community,” he said.
Signatories to the partnership were Kevin Ryan, Chairperson of the CAHS Sheree Brandy and board member Alana Newman and GWAHS Area Manager Linda Williams.
Ms Williams said that part of the partnership arrangement would include local service agreements which would be entered into to assist in providing culturally appropriate and quality health services to the Aboriginal community of Condobolin through joint planning, community development and clinical service delivery.
“An agreed partnership enables GWAHS to utilise the expertise within the Aboriginal community to enhance and improve health service delivery and reciprocally enables CAHS to utilise the clinical expertise within Greater Western,” Ms Williams said.
The partnership will enable shared facilities and access to visiting specialists.

Hospital network consultations an insult

The State Government’s consultation process with the people of western NSW has been branded an “insult” by Independent State MP, Dawn Fardell after revealing it has already advertised for chairpersons for the Local Health Network (LHN).
“Submissions on the proposal only closed yesterday but the State Government is already advertising the positions, so really, this consultation process is a farce,” Ms Fardell said.
“Once again the Government seems intent on bulldozing its plan through to the Federal Government and adding insult to injury by claiming it has consulted with local communities when, in reality, it was a done deal all along.”
Under the State Government’s proposal Dubbo and Condobolin would be included in the Central West Local Health Network, centred on Orange.

News in Brief

MERRYN WOWS THEM

Former Condobolin resident Merryn Spencer was recently awarded the Women out West (WoW)award for Outstanding Young Entrepreneur which recognizes a young woman entrepreneur whose innovative spirit inspires youth with her vision, leadership and achievement.

CONDOBOLIN RSL

Condobolin RSL currently have some great prizes up for grabs as part of their Father’s Day Raffle. 1st prize is a BBQ, 2nd a lawn mower and 3rd an outdoor setting. Tickets are $1 available from the bar.

COUNTRYLINK PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL

Attention all artists! Parkes Shire Library invites you to lend your creativity and talent to the theme of “Elvis”.
The Parkes Elvis Art Exhibition held in conjunction with the 2011 CountryLink Parkes Elvis Festival challenges artists to capture the essence of Elvis, or one of his movies or song titles.
Paintings, drawings, collage, mosaics, sculptures and leadlight are all eligible for entry.
The exhibition will be officially opened on Wednesday 5th January 2011 and will be open every day of the Festival. The exhibition will be held in the Coventry Room next to Parkes Library. Entry is free and all artworks will be for sale.
Entries close on 21st December 2010. Visit  www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au or www.parkes.nsw.gov. or contact Shellie Buckle at Parkes Library on (02) 6861 2039.

HELP RAISE MONEY!

style magazine is giving you the opportunity to provide much needed support to those suffering from severe flood damage in Pakistan.
From the 30th of August to the 1st of September, with every subscription of style magazine purchased, style will donate $6.55 to Unicef.
This provides 3 water containers for transporting and storing fresh water. For $35 you will receive a 12 month subscription to style magazine and help provide clean water to those suffering.

CONDOBOLIN ARAS

A free field day is being held at the Condobolin Agricultural Research and Science station on Wednesday 22nd September from 9 am – 4 pm.
The program includes: Animal Health and NLIS changes for sheep and goats; crop challenges such as rust, mice and locusts; storing water, enrich trial, wheat and barley variety testing, phosphorus fertiliser, mustard, canola, pulses and much more. A BBQ lunch will be provided for $5 per person and includes free publications and information from extension staff.
For more information call Joy on 02 68951025.

PARTNERSHIP TO BE SIGNED BETWEEN GWAHS AND CAHS

Greater Western Area Health Service will sign a significant partnership agreement with the Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service (CAHS) on Wednesday 8th September 2010
Signatories to the partnership will be Greater Western AHS Condobolin Health Service Manager, Mr Kevin Ryan and Chief Executive Officer Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service, Mr Cecil Lester. Also attending will be Greater Western AHS Area Manager Aboriginal Health, Ms Linda Williams and the Chair person of the Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service Sheree Brandy.
Ms Linda Williams, said the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Health Partnership is based on a historic partnership formed in 1995 between the NSW Department of Health and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW.
As part of the partnership arrangement, local service agreements will be entered into which will assist in providing culturally appropriate and quality health services to the Aboriginal community of Condobolin, through joint planning, community development and clinical service delivery.
The agreement will be signed at 11 am at the Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service premises.

Health network model slammed

Proposed boundaries for the new Local Health Networks (LHNs) have been slammed as a mockery of the word “local” by local and surrounding Members for Parliament.
Independent State MP Dawn Fardell questioned the timing of a “discussion paper” released by the State Government recently.
She said the Federal Government was still receiving submissions regarding LHN boundaries so communities had every right to feel blindsided by the release of a draft model.
“I think a lot of communities have a right to question the credibility of the submission process when the State Government is already coming out with a proposed LHN structure.
“The draft model for our region covers a massive area encompassing 40 communities so there is nothing local about it.
“It is particularly ludicrous to continue to throw Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst into the same health basket when Dubbo clearly has a vital role to play in servicing communities further west,” Ms Fardell said.
With the major hospitals of the region all clumped together in the one network it leaves the proposed Far West LHN seriously depleted in terms of services leading to suggestions it will need to link up with South Australia.
Ms Fardell said the draft model had not lived up to its own standard of giving recognition to natural community boundaries.
“This is meant to be the delivery of historic healthcare reforms reached by federal and state governments but communities in our region will have every reason to feel completely underwhelmed if this is the best they can come up with,” she said.
Submissions to the State Government’s discussion paper close on September 1. Communities have until September 30 to provide feedback to the Federal Government.

Rural Aussies urged to SHOUT!

as pollies give health the silent treatment
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is urging rural communities across Australia to hold ‘decibel-breaking public meetings’ in the closing weeks of the federal election campaign to show how concerned they are with poor access to local health services and the worsening shortage of rural health professionals.
The call comes as the major parties continue to ignore the rural health crisis in the lead-up to polling day…despite 12,500 rural Australians having died preventable deaths as a result of poor access to healthcare services since the last federal election three years ago.
“The huge turnout at recent public meetings in the rural NSW communities of Wagga Wagga and Pambula alone show the significant concern that is festering in the bush when it comes to accessing local healthcare” RDAA CEO, Steve Sant, said.
“Around 5000 people met at the weekend in Wagga Wagga to protest ongoing delays with, and underfunding of, development of the region’s new hospital.
“The plain fact is that, despite the extreme lack of attention being given to rural Australia and rural healthcare in this election, seven million Australians live in the bush, many of them live in marginal electorates…and all of them care about whether they can get access to a doctor, other health professionals, a hospital and other local health services.
“Given the major parties are giving rural health the silent treatment this election, rural communities need to get out the megaphones and let our pollies know exactly what they think about the erosion of health services in the bush.”
This election, RDAA is calling on the political parties to commit to a number of key initiatives that would improve access to healthcare in rural Australian communities:
A National Rural Health Obligation—to set the standards of access that rural Australians should expect when it comes to local health services such as general practices, emergency departments, maternity services and other basic health services
A National Rural Generalist Training Pathway—to support and train the rural doctors of the future to provide essential health services in rural communities and rural hospitals
A Rural Rescue Package—comprising Medicare fee for service incentives to compensate those doctors who support rural communities by providing essential medical services including hospital-based services such as accident and emergency, after-hours on-call, obstetrics, anaesthetics and surgical care
A range of supports for rural health services—including improved payment arrangements for treating patients with long-term illnesses; appropriate, rurally-sensitive governance arrangements under the new health reforms; better support for nurses in general practice; equitable access to midwifery services in rural hospitals; and better support for international medical graduates
Rural Australians are also being urged to fill out a five-minute online survey about access to health services in their communities. A link to the survey can be found at www.rdaa.com.au.

Older Australians yet to be vaccinated

Up to 300,000 older Australians who were first immunised in 2005 are yet to complete their pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine course.
Two doses of the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine are required 5 years apart1. Many people 70 years and over are yet to receive their second dose and need to consult their doctor about this important immunisation.
The Australian Lung Foundation is urging all Australians who know someone 70 years or older, to ask them if they have received their second free dose of the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine to complete their course.
Older Australians are at a higher risk of contracting pneumococcal disease than the rest of the population, with the majority of deaths from this disease occurring in this age group.
The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine is nationally available free to Australians aged 65 years and over through the National Pneumococcal Vaccination Program for Older Australians1.   Ask your local GP or practice nurse for your free immunisation.

News in Brief

BORN TO READ

Born to Read Condobolin Committee is  inviting the public to their annual party in the Memorial Park, Condobolin  on Thursday  9th September at 12 noon
This year it’s Rap and Rhyme Time with  special guest performers – The Little Scallywagz!
Each child will receive A FREE Born to Read show bag, and there are prizes for competition winners and entertainment for all. You need to wear a hat and bring your own picnic lunch.

NORTHPARKES MINE ANNOUNCEMENT

Independent State MP, Dubbo Dawn Fardell, has welcomed the $90 million investment for a pre-feasibility study into expansion of the Northparkes Mine, saying it will inject great confidence in the future of the Central West.
“This study, which involves drilling more than 140kms into the ground to target identified copper and gold mineralisation within the existing mining leases, is extremely exciting for the Parkes region,” Ms Fardell said.
“Not only does it involve a major injection of funds into the region and creates an extra 100 jobs, it gives the local community confidence that the life of the mine may be extended beyond 2024.”

CONDOBOLIN PARAMEDICS CALL OUT IN TOWN

On Monday afternoon at 3.51 pm, Condobolin Paramedics were called to a house in McDonnell Street where an 8 year old girl was caught on chicken wire while climbing 2 metres above the ground on top of an old chicken coup.
Wire went into the fatty tissue of her stomach. Paramedics cut the girl free and treated a wound to her abdomen. She was transported to Condobolin Hospital in a stable condition and then transferred to Orange Base Hospital.
The Paramedics in attendance commented later to the Media Unit that the patient was well behaved and very calm in what was a very scary and difficult situation for an 8 year old. She was lucky she didn’t do more damage to herself as she was able to balance on a wooden beam across the coup.

Booster shot for van

Condobolin’s Mobile Health Van has received a welcome injection of funds – $3,000 has been donated by the Nashos donate to the Mobile Health VanCondobolin Unit of the National Servicemen Association. The money was presented to Condobolin GP Dr Jeremy Allen who said that the funds will be used to purchase equipment such as a lamp, generator and fridge.
GWAHS Community Nurse, Mandy Ryan said that the Mobile Health Van has been cleaned up, repaired and a bed has been made by the hospital maintenance staff.
“We are just waiting for the rego to come through” said Mandy.
Further funding is expected from the Rural Health Service to purchase curtains and jockey wheels.
It is intended that the van will provide access for those not able to visit the surgery. It will provide a consulting room on wheels that offers proper health screening.
If any group or individual would like to make a donation towards Condobolin’s Mobile Health Van please contact Mandy Ryan at the hospital on 6895 2600.
Article by K. Tooth.

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites