Nationals Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor, NSW Nationals’ candidate for Barwon Annette Turner, and Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole
Communities in the state’s Far West are benefiting from a record health investment, as part of the NSW Nationals’ commitment to ensuring the people of rural and regional NSW have access to the high quality healthcare they need and deserve.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole and Nationals Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor were in Broken Hill to witness the virtual intensive care (vICU) service in action, with the lifesaving technology linking critically ill patients and their local clinicians with Sydney-based specialists.
“Living in regional NSW shouldn’t be a barrier to receiving the health care you need and the vICU is an example of how this government is focused on improving health services for people living in our rural and regional communities,” Mr Toole said.
“We are seeing a record investment in health infrastructure across the Far West and more widely NSW. The NSW Nationals are also committed to ensuring we have the staff we need, with more than 300 interns joining the ranks of our NSW regional health workforce last week.”
Locally, The Nationals are investing $10 million to upgrade the Broken Hill Health Service Emergency Department, complementing a major enhancement of the hospital’s mental health unit, which is being delivered as part of the $700 million state-wide Mental Health Infrastructure Program. The concept design is expected to be finalised in the coming months, with construction expected to begin by the end of the year.
Mrs Taylor said healthcare in rural and regional NSW has been transformed under this government, with the creation of the first ever Minister for Regional Health and Division for Regional Health.
“As a Registered Nurse, it has been amazing to see how far regional health has come. From the vICU to the life-saving Telestroke, which has now been rolled out across NSW including in Broken Hill, patients in our regional hospitals are being treated faster than ever before,” Mrs Taylor said.
“I’m so incredibly proud of the NSW health system, our amazing workforce, and the outcomes they achieve each and every day.”
Mr Toole said a $30 million redevelopment of one of the state’s most remote hospitals, Wentworth, is also on track, with construction due to start later this year, further transforming access to care for residents of the Far West.
“This is a community spread far and wide over 26,000 square kilometres of the Wentworth Shire so it’s critical the main hospital in the region is able to deliver the care that locals need,” Mr Toole said.
“The $30 million invested by the NSW Nationals will deliver a modern, purpose-built facility that will meet the growing health needs of this region.
“The New Wentworth Health Service will be equipped with the latest, fit-for-purpose facilities, including a 19-bed Inpatient Unit providing aged care, acute and sub-acute care, as well as an Outpatient Clinic and a new Urgent Care Centre, with specialised staff in each area to provide the highest quality care to the Wentworth community.”
Mr Toole also officially opened the new Buronga HealthOne, funded through the NSW Government’s $100 million HealthOne program, which will provide communities in Buronga, Dareton, Gol Gol, Wentworth, Euston and Balranald with a modern, one-stop hub for their healthcare needs.
“This is one of the most exciting service enhancements and culturally significant projects for the local region,” Mr Toole said.
“Since opening its doors in August last year, it’s made a huge difference to the everyday lives of locals who can now access a range of health professionals and services under one roof.”
“This new collaboration is a crucial step forward in improving health outcomes for the Aboriginal community in regional NSW.”
Since 2011, The Nationals have delivered more than 180 health capital projects across NSW, with more than 130 projects currently underway. Of those, more than 90 are in rural and regional areas.
The NSW Government is investing $4.5 billion for 10,148 full time equivalent (FTE) staff to hospitals and health services across the State over the next four years, as part of the 2022-23 Budget, with 3,800 of those positions in rural and regional areas.