Rural and regional health inquiry report welcome but must be actioned urgently

5th May 2022

The NSW Government is urged to promptly implement the recommendations in the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry’s report into rural and regional health to help prevent further tragedies caused by failures in the system, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Importantly, the report has recognised that people living in rural, regional and remote Australia are suffering – physically, mentally and financially – because of a failure to ensure equity in access and quality of healthcare,” said ALA spokesperson, Catherine Henry. Ms Henry is a regional NSW based health lawyer and advocate for healthcare reform who has been practising for 30 years.

“It should not take an inquiry to ensure equal access to health care for everyone. However, if this is what will make the Government act then, with the report now tabled to Parliament, we urge the Government to promptly implement the recommendations.

“The report recommends a review in two years to monitor progress on the recommendations. This is critical and should help to hold the Government accountable for taking urgent action.

“We will review the recommendations in detail but initially we are pleased to see that workforce issues have been acknowledged and recommendations have been made to address the resourcing crisis.

“We also welcome the recommendation to establish an independent health administration ombudsman to address the high volume of complaints.  It is essential that there is increased transparency in the system and public access to meaningful data, particularly regarding adverse patient outcomes.”

The ALA made a submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into “Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW” making 22 recommendations to address the inequitable health outcomes experienced by people living in rural and regional NSW. Read the submission here.


Tags: NSW Health, medicine and law Regional areas