Area News letters to the editor, December 15, 2017.

At our Griffith Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC) AGM on November 23, 2017, we reflected on one of our busiest years to date, filled with many accomplishments and challenges.

LHAC: Members Margaret King, Peter Sparks, Yvonne Turnell, Ian Woolfe, Saideh Barlow, Kim Burgess, Dr Elizabeth Harford, Melanie Reeves and Val Woodland.

LHAC: Members Margaret King, Peter Sparks, Yvonne Turnell, Ian Woolfe, Saideh Barlow, Kim Burgess, Dr Elizabeth Harford, Melanie Reeves and Val Woodland.

We also paid tribute to our committee member Kevin Bradford, a hardworking man who was a passionate advocate for his fellow community members, especially those with various chronic health issues.

Kevin passed away this year, a great loss to our community.

Thank you to my fellow LHAC members for their hard work and contributions as they continue to advocate for our local community by working on a wide range of topics and issues related to health care in Griffith.

Our advocacy efforts in 2017 included working to raise awareness around mental health.

We delivered a Mental Health First Aid course for men in partnership with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program on 24 May - 7 June.

We were proud to host a Cervical Cancer Screening event on 30 October, thanks to funding from the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN).

The event was aimed at educating women on the continued importance to have cervical screenings (pap tests) to help prevent cervical cancer.

We also welcomed seven wonderful guest speakers throughout the year who addressed key topics.

A key event was the MLHD Palliative Care Regional Workshop in Griffith on 26 May as part of discussions with community and health professionals to discuss the future for Palliative Care Services in NSW.

Roundtables were also held in several cities throughout NSW.

Of the $100 million announced for the next four years to provide more tailored community-based palliative care services, MLHD received funding for a full-time Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner for Griffith among Clinical Nurse Specialist positions for regional NSW.

With the assistance of the MPHN, we established a stand-alone Murrumbidgee Health Services Directory for Griffith, which was extracted from the existing Health Services Directory.

This will be a valuable tool for many organisations in the Griffith area.

We introduced an Acknowledgment of Country to our meeting agenda as of June this year.

As an LHAC we are fully supportive of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags that are now displayed on the wall of the main corridor past the ED entrance.

We are hopeful of permanent flagpoles being a fixture of the new hospital.

We are committed to raising our LHAC profile in the community as part of our goal to be advocates for residents regarding health care.

LHACs are made up of voluntary community representatives who serve as a link between their communities and the local health service.

We provide valuable input into planning health services and sharing information with the local community.

It is my privilege as the re-elected Chairperson, to lead our wonderful members of the Griffith LHAC in 2018 in what I anticipate to be an even busier year.

For residents who would like to learn more about the LHAC or would be interested in joining, please visit mlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/community-support/

Margaret King, Griffith LHAC.