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Rural health needs help — Roy Butler

Member for Barwon Roy Butler.said that people in the bush now have a much lower life expectancy than people in the cities. Photo TWH

The Regional Health Inquiry was released in 2022 and made 44 recommendations for change.

In Parliament last week, Member for Barwon, Roy Butler delivered a Private Members Statement to update the electorate.

“It used to be that living in the country was good for your health,” Mr Butler said.

“Over twenty years ago, people who lived in the country had a higher life expectancy than those who lived in cities.

“However, the decline in the regional health system has reversed that; people in the bush now have a much lower life expectancy than people from large metropolitan areas”.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional, and remote NSW was established in 2020. The Inquiry’s report handed down in May 2022 contained 22 critical findings and made 44 recommendations.

Key recommendations covered issues such as communication and community engagement; remuneration and employment conditions for nurses and midwives; rural training to build the local workforce; the use of virtual care or telehealth; and the development of the next Rural Health Plan.

“My speech in Parliament was an update to the electorate, and to the House on what we’re up to,” Mr Butler said. “Back when I was elected in this role in 2019, we knew that the health outcomes in western NSW were not as good as the city.

“The health inquiry completed in the last Parliament had 44 recommendations, the previous government accepted 41 in principle, but the opposition said if they were in government, they would implement all 44 points.”

“Dr Joe McGirr, is a medical doctor from Wagga Wagga and has been chairing a Lower House committee looking at the implementation of those recommendations to see how we’re tracking.” […]

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