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Meeting healthcare needs in Parkes and Forbes

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

With the commencement of the Parliamentary sitting year less than a fortnight away, my focus has shifted towards close engagement with the community over the proposed service delivery plan to meet the future healthcare requirements of Parkes and Forbes. Under Labor, the health infrastructure and services delivered to the Parkes and Forbes communities were largely neglected and allowed to fall behind other facilities offered elsewhere in region. The important ongoing work of the health council and local health district to interpret the community wishes over the future of hospital services is an integral part of this process. It is important to remember that the local health district is endeavouring to meet community expectations whilst ensuring that the services to be delivered are sustainable over a long period of time. Their intention is to deliver world class services to Forbes and Parkes by the best method available. That may entail some change to the way services have been provided in the past.  I ask the community to approach this concept with an open mind and to also consider the potential benefits from the adoption of an enhanced service delivery model.

With the rapid pace of technological change, accompanied by increased patient expectations our ageing population will continue to place great demand on quality health care. Like many other communities Parkes and Forbes have long suffered from inadequate expenditure on health infrastructure and services. The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is getting on with the job of delivering on our election commitments in the health portfolio. I share Minister for Health Jillian Skinner's determination to pursue a fair go for regional NSW and a fair share of health services for the communities in the Dubbo electorate. The 2011-2012 NSW Liberal/Nationals budget delivered $3 million to kick start the Parkes and Forbes hospitals planning process. I wish to commend the CEO of the Western NSW Local Health District Ron Dunham and his team for their committed approach to this project and for seeking to engage with local community representatives before making any firm decisions about the delivery of services. 

The NSW Governments determination to deliver facilities that will attract and retain medical specialists willing to establish practices servicing Forbes and Parkes will not diminish. The community deserves no less. However this process will not occur without some adjustment but will lead to the ultimate benefit of the community at large. The enormous gratitude I share with many others in the community for the sterling effort of our hard working doctors, nurses and allied health workers as they have gone about their daily tasks in less than adequate conditions cannot be overstated. I look forward to keeping you informed of important stages in the development of the service delivery plan.

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