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Could Cobar Hospital cope with a major mining or car accident?

17 February, 2020
Could Cobar Hospital cope with a mining or car accident?  Image

Cobar sits on the junction of the Kidman Way and Barrier Highway it has four mines operating within a 90 kilometre radius – these two facts have people in Cobar concerned about the local hospital’s ability to respond to a major incidence.

The Hospital has recently undergone an extensive redevelopment, and is staffed by some wonderful medical professionals but the questions remain – if something were to go wrong could the local Hospital cope?

This is a question I have raised with the Health Minister Brad Hazzard – I’m still awaiting his response.

While the scenario I have put to him involves a major mining incident or car accident we must also look at how the local community is being serviced.

Data obtained from NSW Health shows that over the past two years someone is getting airlifted from Cobar on average once every 3.5 days. This is at a huge cost to the person’s family who must drive to either Dubbo or Sydney and pay for accommodation out of their own wallet. It's also has an impact on the health budget - the total for airlifts from Cobar run into the millions. Is this the best way to be caring for people? Is this the best way to spend the Health budget? 

The issue of not being able to look after our own within our towns and communities with the services available are common across Barwon.

Across the board I hear stories of sub-par health services, consistently I am told that the local health professionals are doing an amazing job in a system that is stacked against them. The health system we have is no longer working. Continuing to throw money at a broken system won’t change it, so how do we change it?

My team and I have sat down with NSW Health and some universities to look at some innovative solutions that are being used internationally to improve health outcomes. These solutions help break down the barrier of distance, and have been proven to improve health outcomes.

Health is one of those areas where we can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

Time and time again we see our problems put in the too hard basket. This year I am going to keep pulling them out and putting them in front of government. I know that they’re not easy problems to address. I know the answers to how we turn around our fortunes are not simple and our problems will not be solved overnight.

But that isn’t to say there aren’t solutions out there, most of the people I talk to have considered how to solve the problems in their community - but what’s needed is the government to pay attention.

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