COUNCILLOR Warren Aubin will be “going in to bat for the people of Bathurst” on Tuesday.
He’ll join Bathurst Regional Council’s Environmental, Planning and Building Services director at a hearing for the parliamentary inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.
It comes almost six months after council made a submission to the inquiry.
Council’s submission “aims at increasing the resources necessary to help [Bathurst Health Service] staff do their jobs as effectively as possible, and to increase the level of services to Bathurst in keeping with regional city status”.
The submission details the concerns council and the community has, and in the accompanying letter alleges that most of the concerns remain unresolved “due in part to an apparent reluctance of the Western NSW Local Health District to respond sufficiently”.
Tuesday’s hearing, to be held in Wellington, will give the Bathurst representatives an opportunity to expand on the submission.
“It’s a full parliamentary inquiry so it’s held like in court-type rules, so we have to sit at the bench and swear on the bible, and then we’re given three or four minutes for an outline and then they just throw questions at us and get to the crux of the whole thing,” Cr Aubin said.
“… We’re going in to bat for the people of Bathurst and see if we can get a better deal and better services, which is what we’ve been after for the last two and half years.”
Cr Aubin believes the most compelling evidence council has presented to the inquiry is the stories community members have shared of their experiences with the health service.
The stories are included in council’s submission, with names and personal details redacted, and make mention of long wait times at the hospital, surgeries being delayed for days, people being sent to Orange due to a lack of staff, and relatives having to contact other medical providers to speed up treatment.
Cr Aubin stressed that “there is no fault with the doctors and nurses” in Bathurst, and also thanked every person who came forward with their experiences.
“It’s really good that people have come forward and given us the details of how they’ve been treated. It’s a really good point for people on this panel to be able to read how people do get treated here,” he said.
In addition to talking about patient experiences, the Bathurst representatives intend to raise issues with the budget for the health district and the need for more resources, including certain specialist services.
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