FIRST HEARING HELD, LOCAL SUBMISSIONS MADE

Image by Bruno /Germany from PixabayImage by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

By Melissa Blewitt

The first hearing of the Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote New South Wales Inquiry has been conducted.

A number of submissions in relation to health care and medical services in Condobolin were submitted to the Inquiry.

Many were concerned with alleged misdiagnosing of illness; lack of medical services in the town; removal of medical services; lack of understanding from State Government/NSW Health; lack of doctors at the Hospital and in the town; and local people failing to seek medical attention because of all the perceived barriers placed in front of them.

This Inquiry was established on 16 September 2020 to inquire into and report on health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.

On the Parliament of NSW website it said: “Submissions about individual health care experiences will inform our 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.”

The first hearing was held on 19 March in the Macquarie Room at Parliament House in Sydney. This was the beginning of a NSW parliamentary inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote areas across the state. The hearing was open to the public, but was limited due to COVID-19 requirements.

These hearings and site visits are being held in rural, regional and remote NSW over the coming months, allowing members of the Upper House’s health committee to explore a range of issues and hear from community members and health workers from around the state, according to a statement released by the Legislative Council on 17 March.

The next hearing is scheduled for Deniliquin on 29 April. This will be followed by hearings at Cobar on 30 April, at Wellington on 18 May, Dubbo on 19 May, Lismore on 16 June, Gunnedah on 17 June and another at Macquarie Room at Parliament House in Sydney on 12 July.

Chair of the committee, the Hon. Greg Donnelly MLC said that after receiving over 700 written submissions, the committee was looking forward to speaking directly with witnesses to continue the important task of gathering further evidence for the inquiry.

“As a starting point in Sydney, we’ll be hearing from a range of organisations spanning health and medical representative bodies, groups representing rural doctors, nurses, unions, and of course NSW Health,” he explained.

“This inquiry was established to look at health and hospital services for people living in rural, regional and remote areas, and how their access to these services and ultimately their health outcomes compare to those living in metropolitan areas.

The committee will be using the evidence gathered from the submissions and public hearings to develop a comprehensive report and propose recommendations to the NSW Government for addressing issues that are identified and need to be addressed.”