Forbes, Parkes and the surrounding communities will benefit from new primary health care models to improve access to local health care and provide better continuity of care for rural patients.
Deputy Prime Minister and local NSW Nationals Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the trial was one of five new primary care models being tested in western and southern New South Wales.
“The NSW Nationals in the federal government are working hard to address regional workforce shortages through a range of initiatives and programs, and this new model announced today is part of the solution,” Mr McCormack said.
“An ageing GP workforce had been identified as a challenge in the region, and this model is testing a potential new solution to ensure people in this region continue to have access to health care.”
NSW Nationals Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton said regional experts – the NSW Rural Doctors Network, the Western NSW Local Health District and the Western NSW Primary Health Network – were working closely with local councils, community and health professionals to design an innovative solution for the area.
“With each new model, the aim is to demonstrate how new and flexible approaches can address workforce shortages in the bush, and find sustainable ways of delivering services across a number of smaller, connected rural communities,” Mr Coulton said.
“The challenge of delivering health services in small communities is well known, and it is clear the existing one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working for every rural community.
These models differ from traditional health workforce solutions that focus on individual towns. Instead, the focus is on sub-regions to address healthcare access issues.
“By servicing multiple towns, there is an opportunity to achieve economies of scale, create sustainable practices and provide better access to primary health services for rural and remote Australians,” Mr McCormack said.
“The NSW Nationals in the federal government are breaking new ground by investing in sub-regional models of primary care to provide local solutions and to test how these new approaches can address perennial rural health challenges across the nation.”
The Lachlan region joins the Canola Fields, 4T’s (Tullamore, Trangie, Tottenham and Trundle), Snowy Valley and Wentworth sites, where innovative solutions to local healthcare problems are being developed under the program. The NSW Nationals in the federal government have invested $3.3 million to test these new models.