The Mayors of Forbes and Parkes and council representatives met with the CEO of Western NSW Local Health District, Scott McLachlan, last week to look at actions to address the maternity needs of the region, particularly the shortage of obstetricians.
“It is clear that an interim arrangement will be needed, but only hand-in-hand with a longer-term strategy to future-proof maternity services at both hospitals,” said Mayor Ken Keith of Parkes.
“The parents of the region need to be confident that they will have a high level of care and we will not rest until this is achieved.”
Scott said this could only be achieved by working together, and in a show of good faith agreed to facilitate a meeting with key experts, including the CEO of the Rural Doctors Network, the CEO of the Primary Health Network, key health staff and the Mayors.
“We need to explore a new way to create sustainable models for regional health,” said Mayor of Forbes, Phyllis Miller.
“We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome.
By working co-operatively let’s see if a new approach can be developed and modelled in our area.”
The opportunity to better utilise the hospitals’ operating theatres was also discussed. Increasing the surgery done at Parkes and Forbes would mean less people need to travel away for operations and is well worth considering.
Ken said that is was very reassuring that there was a common need to find a solution.
Scott told local media representatives last week the shortage of medical personnel was impacting the whole region with 50% of towns in NSW reliant on locums.