NSW Labor is demanding the Government take urgent action to fix the systemic healthcare crisis in rural and regional NSW.
It comes after 700 people from regional and rural communities made harrowing submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry in Rural and Regional Healthcare, highlighting a system that is overstretched, under-resourced and plagued by chronic doctor shortages.
The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said the quality of healthcare should not be determined by where you live.
“The Government has failed to invest in healthcare in rural and regional NSW. The Government will point to all the new hospitals and upgrades but the grim reality is, they don’t have the staff to deliver the health services required,” Ms McKay said.
“We have seen shocking revelations come to light through the Parliamentary Inquiry. Towns without doctors, hospitals without bandages and people without the care they need. This is why we fought for an inquiry. It is about giving people a voice, and we’ll keep fighting because our country communities deserve better.”
Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said the submissions were concerning, with many “highlighting a culture of cover-up” rather than focusing on finding out what’s not working and what needs to be done to fix it.
“These reports show we have a health and hospital system in crisis in NSW. The fact that senior clinicians have raised concerns that serious incidents are getting covered up or downgraded so that an appropriate investigation isn’t undertaken is quite simply appalling,” Mr Park said.
“These damning reports would not have seen the light of day had the Government had their way and stopped this inquiry from taking place.
“Patients and their families have a right to high quality and safe health care and at the moment, especially in parts of rural NSW that is simply not happening. Instead of trying to fix it we have a culture of cover up that is putting lives at risk.”
The Shadow Minister for Rural Health Kate Washington added:
“I hope the Government is listening to what is really happening in rural and regional NSW. There are too many tragic stories of families losing loved ones because they were failed by a health system that is too sick to cope.”
“Health outcomes should not be determined by postcodes. This is a systemic healthcare crisis and it must be addressed. This Inquiry is about equality, fairness and a fundamental right to healthcare. We should expect better because we can do better.”
The Parliamentary Inquiry will begin public hearings from 19 March, with several expected to be held rural and regional NSW.