23 April 2022

Wanted: regional voices to tell the true-blue story about rural health

| Sally Hopman
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Two young men stand by a sign saying R U OK in front of a tree painted blue

The town of Young in the state’s Hilltops region was one of many NSW communities to take part in the Blue Tree campaign to draw attention to mental health issues in rural and regional areas. Photo: File.

Do you live in regional NSW and know what it’s like to go without proper health care? Are you willing to share your experience in the rural health sector to help others living in remote areas?

The NSW Government is calling for a variety of experienced voices to be heard on its new Regional Health Ministerial Advisory Panel, which was set up to help improve health outcomes for people across rural and regional NSW.

Retired occupational therapist Sarah Thompson from NSW Farmers welcomed the call-out, saying country communities experienced less access to health services.

“Regional, rural and remote communities deserve excellent health care and that’s what we want to see achieved,” she said.

“We need a commitment, focus and funding to deliver the services that are needed and this will be a great way to let the government know what those needs are.”

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She said providing health services in rural and remote Australia had a different set of challenges.

“We need people with those experiences to have their say on how we can build future success.”

NSW Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said the new advisory body would play a vital role in improving health outcomes for people across the state.

She said panel members would advise the Minister for Regional Health, the Minister for Health and the Secretary, Ministry of Health, on improving healthcare, hospital, and health support services across rural and regional NSW.

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Eligible candidates should be able to represent health consumers in various areas, including experience in providing regional medical care, community engagement, digital solutions in regional areas, health funding, and complex health service delivery.

Interested people should complete an expression of interest, including their qualifications, experience and specific areas of expertise and provide referees.

Applications close on Tuesday 26 April.

Ms Taylor said after the panel appointments were made and approved by Cabinet, members would serve for up to three years and meet every three months.

More information about the new Regional Health Ministerial Advisory Panel is available here.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on About Regional.

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