The State Government has announced a $4.5 billion boost to NSW Health but what exactly does that mean for our region?
Northern Tablelands MP, Adam Marshall, will use this week's sitting of State Parliament to question and seek clarification from the government around how much of the multi-billion-dollar injection to the NSW Health workforce, announced on Monday, will be coming to the region and how many extra full-time staff local hospitals will receive.
"An 10,148 extra full-time staff over the next four years sounds brilliant, but what does that mean for our region? How much of this extra funding will we see and how many extra nursing staff and doctors will our communities get?" Mr Marshall asked.
"I welcome the announcement - it's great news - but I think everyone here will keep the corks firmly in the champagne bottles for now, until we see further detail about what we'll be receiving, how the funding will be used and when it will all come to fruition," he said.
"Additional funding is always welcome, but throwing millions of dollars more into the same failed systems will not change the outcome for our communities.
"We absolutely need the major cash injection into our regional NSW Health workforce, but it must be coupled with major reform in how we staff and operate our rural hospitals, especially our district hospitals.
"The old models don't work anymore, that's patently obvious with the issues we're seen in our region - the very edge of the Hunter New England Health District.
"So we need to see some bold policy changes and new operating models implemented for the attraction, training and retention of medical and nursing staff and how our rural hospital networks are operated.
"It's clear to everyone in our region that controlling our hospitals from Newcastle has been an abject failure with the views and experience of local communities and hospital staff ignored.
"Our local nurses are being pushed to the limit and we need this injection of extra funding, but we also need to change the way that funding is controlled and spent.
"Since becoming your local MP, together the community and I have secured new and upgraded hospitals in Armidale and Inverell, with work to start soon on similar new builds in Moree and Glen Innes. But unless we have the staff, buildings don't save lives.
"Outcomes are what our communities care about and that's exactly how those in charge will be judged - on what this announcement today actually achieves in each and every hospital and local community.
"I look forward to engaging with the Minister for Regional Health this week and securing the detail and results our communities are looking for."
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