$2.1 million for NSW rural specialist health
Health services in rural NSW will benefit from an extra $2.1 million over three years for new specialist services, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Senator Kay Patterson, said today.
13 March 2002
$2.1 million for NSW rural specialist healthHealth services in rural NSW will benefit from an extra $2.1 million over three years for new specialist services, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Senator Kay Patterson, said today.
The funding is part of the Federal Government's $562 million Regional Health Strategy, which is designed to provide more doctors and health services in rural areas.
Senator Patterson rejected claims by NSW Minister for Health, Craig Knowles, that funding has been taken away from NSW communities.
"There has been no money diverted away from NSW, nor has there been any deliberate slowing of action on proposals under the Medical Specialist Outreach Program. In fact, it has been the NSW health department that has delayed the process," Senator Patterson said. "Some of the proposals from NSW Health fell short of fitting the program guidelines and these have been returned to the NSW department for further development."
Senator Patterson said the $2.1 million over three years for the Medical Specialist Outreach Program was designed to deliver more specialist services to areas of need in the State. This would enable people living in rural towns to have improved access to important specialist services that city people took for granted.
"Following community consultation, proposals are considered by the State Based Advisory Committee, which advises on the appropriateness of the submission and the extent to which it meets the need. This is an important process, but takes time," she said. The goal is to support a series of services that best benefits the community.
The new services approved across NSW include funding levels of up to:
- $100,000 over three years in the Far West of NSW for physician, dermatology and neurology services;
- $515,000 over three years in the Mid-North Coast area for endocrinology, psycho-geriatric, respiratory, neurology, palliative care, psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry services;
- $531,000 over three years in the Macquarie area for upskilling activity for local medical professionals as well as psychiatry, palliative care, cardiology, rheumatology, psychogeriatric, geriatric, rehabilitation and respiratory services;
- $70,000 over three years in the Hunter region for services in paediatric endocrinology, paediatric neurology and paediatric surgery;
- $259,000 over three years in the Northern Rivers region for services psychogeriatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, neurosciences and clinical genetics;
- $187,000 over three years in the Mid-Western region for upskilling for local health staff and for oncology, renal vascular, and ear, nose and throat services;
- $335,000 over three years in the Greater Murray region for neurology, urology, orthopaediatric, anaesthetist, gynaecology, oncology and paediatric haematology services;
- $180,000 over three years in the Southern region for radiation oncology, haematology, geriatric rehabilitation and paediatric ear, nose and throat services.
Senator Patterson said: "This is a significant additional level of specialist medical care for the people of rural NSW. It comes after considerable consultation with the community and local health service providers, analysing service gaps and how best to fill them.
"It is my view that this activity should respond to community priorities, which may not necessarily be those of the State Government."
"The NSW Government has sought to use the recent and generous injections of Federal Government funding for rural services to allow them to take money out of rural areas. New Commonwealth funds must result in new services.
"We cannot have a situation where Commonwealth funds come in the front door only to have State funds disappear out the back door.
"Some specialist proposals, including those from NSW Health, required clarification and amendment to make sure there is no duplication or overlap with existing services. I am happy to say that these issues have been sorted out and people in rural NSW will start to receive the services they need."
Media Contact: Marnie Gaffney, 0402 892 871