Are people in rural areas having more trouble accessing less health care services than their city cousins?
The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW is compiling a submission for an inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote areas of the state, with a health survey online for community comment.
Responses forming the basis of submission to inquiry
The survey has been sent to the CWA of NSW’s 8,000 members and is available on the organisation’s website for input from community members, with responses forming the basis of the submission to the inquiry by the NSW Parliament, which was established on September 16. Submissions close on December 13.
CWA of NSW president Stephanie Stanhope said concerns about healthcare and services in non-metropolitan NSW had been a long-standing issue and it was pleasing to see it now the subject of a wide-ranging inquiry by a NSW Upper House committee.
Members voicing their concerns
‘Members have been voicing their concerns for some time about the erosion of services in rural and regional areas of the state, inadequate staffing levels and unsatisfactory outcomes for those in need of care.
‘Increasing levels of frustration over the issue prompted the CWA of NSW to make healthcare inequalities in rural, regional and remote areas the focus of our 2018 Awareness Week campaign, calling for action on the likes of GP and specialist shortages, downgrading of local hospitals, poor access to dental care and shortages related to mental health services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
‘Our advocacy efforts around the urgent need for real solutions to these healthcare inadequacies has continued since then and we hope this inquiry can lead to a fresh commitment from our policy-makers to improving health services and outcomes for those who live outside our cities.
‘Your postcode shouldn’t determine the level of care you receive when you’re at your most vulnerable.’
The survey will be distributed to members and can also be found on the CWA of NSW website at
It includes questions around the availability of specialist services in their communities, waiting times, costs of care, travel times and treatment outcomes.
‘This is an important opportunity for individuals to have their say in relation to this inquiry and will form the basis of the submission from the CWA of NSW. It’s completely anonymous and aims to collate people’s experiences with our healthcare system,’ said Ms Stanhope.
‘We have real hopes for the outcomes of this inquiry and the potential to finally bring about real improvements in healthcare access and outcomes for NSW citizens in rural, regional and remote areas of our state. Quality healthcare should not be a luxury, it’s a right.’