Griffith health services and facilities can be optimistic of an upgrade in the wake of a new National Rural Health Commissioner position being approved last week.
Griffith’s Local Heath Advisory (GLHA) believes the role will put regional health back in the minds of federal authorities, and make lobbying for improvements easier.
GLHA Committee Chair, Margaret King, feels the appointment will only make services better in the Griffith and build momentum towards an overall hospital upgrade.
“It will only help our cause,” she said
“Whether it be for upgrades or a new hospital to have a stand alone position created and money being put in it can only be a good thing.”
The Rural Health Commissioner is a new role to champion the cause of rural service.
The office holder will work with rural, regional and remote communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and across all levels of government to improve rural health policies.
Mrs King is also hopeful the position will give another voice to the fight for hospital improvements in rural areas overall.
“From our perspective, it can only be a fantastic addition,” she said.
“In rural areas, we can often be forgotten about and if this position is going to be created hopefully it will deal with that issue.”
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has also come out in full support of the announcement and they hope this important position receives the full support of all political parties.
“We welcome comments by Minister Gillespie that the Commissioner will be an independent advocate,” President, Dr Ewen McPhee said.
“He will be giving frank advice on regional and rural health reform and representing the needs and rights of regional, rural and remote Australia.
“The Minister has emphasised the role in the longer-term will not just be about rural medical workforce issues – it will be a broad role ...”
He recommended the role be a fixed term position with the successful applicant being assessed on outcomes delivering specific regions’ needs.
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