Narrandera Shire Council recently presented a submission to the Inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote New South Wales.
In his opening statement Councillor Neville Kschenka, Mayor of Narrandera Shire, noted services are being centralised in Wagga Wagga and Griffith.
This results in residents having to travel for specialist, allied health and hospital services.
“When ambulances are used for the purpose of transporting patients there is a risk that a local ambulance will not be available for an emergency, and one will have to travel from another town causing a delay in attending incidents with potentially fatal outcomes,” said Cr Kschenka.
Council’s community transport service has provided over 10,000 patient journeys, of which 85% of which were for out-of-town medical purposes.
Over 210,000 kilometres have been travelled by staff and volunteers to support 1400 active clients and this service does not cater for people once they enter an aged care facility.
“Mental Health services in Narrandera are also very limited and the subject of many community complaints,” continued Cr Kschenka.
“The two Aboriginal Medical Services are located in Wagga and Griffith with very limited outreach.”
In his submission Mayor Kschenka described the “excellent” local medical practice led by Dr Joe Romeo, who recruits and trains overseas qualified registrar doctors to provide the primary health care to shire residents.
However, Cr Kschenka noted that changes to the federal arrangements around overseas trained doctors in November 2019 have made the process more challenging.
“Dr Romeo loses out for time spent training these new doctors and for lost time in actually seeing his own patients. I know you have heard all this before, but no Australian-trained doctors have been recruited to Narrandera.”
Narrandera Shire Council is committed to improving health outcomes for the community and recognises the availability of services contributes to the quality of lives, as well as longevity.