HEALTH

Deputy premier Paul Toole responds to findings of parliamentary health inquiry

Deputy premier Paul Toole (right) in the grounds of Bathurst Hospital with councillor Warren Aubin.
Deputy premier Paul Toole (right) in the grounds of Bathurst Hospital with councillor Warren Aubin.

DEPUTY premier Paul Toole has reassured he will be pushing for equity in regional NSW healthcare to ensure better outcomes for residents.

His words come following the release of the final report from the parliamentary inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.

There were 22 findings highlighted in the report and 44 recommendations to address the deficiencies that are leading to poorer outcomes for regional people.

Mr Toole said he welcomes the findings detailed in the report, but that the NSW Government hadn't been waiting for them before taking action.

"I welcome the findings of the inquiry and I think it also highlights that more needs to be done in this space," he said.

"As the deputy premier, I haven't actually waited for any report to be handed down. At the end of last year I actually appointed NSW's first Minister for Regional Health [Bronnie Taylor] because I want to ensure that we put the spotlight on regional health so we are getting the best outcomes for our communities.

"When you have a look at the minister, it is someone who has had over 20 years' experience in nursing. She knows how regional health operates and she is also very much aware of some of the challenges that lie ahead. I think this is about making sure we address some of these matters that have been raised."

As a resident of regional NSW himself, Mr Toole also feels he can convey the extent of the problems to the government.

However, he aims to be realistic, acknowledging that regional NSW will never offer the same level of service as in metropolitan areas.

"I want to ensure when it comes to basic levels of service that they are being provided here in the local community. We know we are not going to have every service, I think we are realistic about that, but there are basic services that need to be provided in regional and rural parts of the state," he said.