Lismore Base stealing a march on big city hospitals
A VOICE in NSW Parliament, where big decisions on health funding are made, could give the North Coast a rare chance to dip into a government piggy bank previously reserved for major metropolitan areas.
Transforming regional hospitals into training grounds for young doctors and improving rural health services will be the focus of an exclusive Rural Health Advisory Committee, commissioned by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
While it is not yet known which regional centres will be given a seat on the committee, Liberal MLC Catherine
Cusack believes Lismore is perfectly placed to be at the centre of the action.
The Lennox MP said the establishment of the committee, as part of the Government's Rural Health Strategy, was the "best news" for Lismore since the state election and could breathe new life into Sydney University's Lismore campus training programs.
She also believed the opportunity to showcase the region's ability to supervise student doctors being posted to rural areas could potentially unlock major teaching hospital funding which had long been directed to Sydney and Newcastle.
Ms Skinner revealed in Wagga earlier this month that the committee would be made up of rural clinicians, community members and representatives from local health districts. She said members would provide her with advice on ways to improve patient and training services across rural NSW.
District health chief Chris Crawford said on Tuesday it would be pre-emptive to suggest the North Coast would be directly represented on the committee but hoped there would be good news in coming weeks.
"A seat on the committee would certainly provide the area with the opportunity to make its case more clearly," Mr Crawford said