This week Premier Mike Baird, Health Minister Jillian Skinner and I hit the road in Central Western NSW to officially open major hospital redevelopments in Dubbo, Parkes and Forbes, representing more than $200 million delivered by the NSW Nationals & Liberals Government. They were the latest regional hospital openings following the completion of multi-million dollar redevelopments at Tamworth and Wagga Wagga last year.
Dubbo Hospital is one of the NSW Government’s proudest achievements and will be totally transformed when the next stages, a $150 million election commitment, are complete.
The Parkes community now has access to the most modern health service in NSW with a $72.8 million investment representing a new era for regional healthcare combining acute care services with community and mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment.
Forbes Hospital also forms part of our record investment in health infrastructure across the state. The new $40.9 million redevelopment is delivering expanded services to community members, who have access to a contemporary hospital that will meet their needs now and into the future.
We also opened the $12 million Peak Hill Multi-Purpose Service centre, which is delivering tailored healthcare to the local community.
Coming to government in 2011, the NSW Nationals & Liberals worked hard to secure regional hospital upgrades in Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Byron and Kempsey. For our second term, planning is underway for even more major regional hospital projects, including Coffs Harbour, Taree, Armidale and Inverell.
This week, Jillian and I were also proud to launch a new strategy across the Western NSW Local Health District which will ensure patients in the most remote communities have access to health care through innovative new technology. A patient in Walgett can now be examined by a specialist in Dubbo via Telehealth, technology that includes a wireless portable video monitor device at the patient’s bedside.
This is about improving equity and access to health and to fill the gaps in the healthcare available while delivering care in a more culturally appropriate way. A number of disciplines are already in trial operation, including a pain clinic, obstetrics and gynaecology, renal care, acute care, orthopaedics, mental health and midwifery.
This government recognises our regional communities are the backbone of this state and deserve access to these vital services no matter where they live.