Parliamentary inquiry into future of region's health services welcomed

Welcomed: Opposition spokesman for health Ryan Park and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren are pleased the Parliament will look into health services in the region.
Welcomed: Opposition spokesman for health Ryan Park and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren are pleased the Parliament will look into health services in the region.

Health services in Macarthur and the greater south-west area will be put under the microscope with the commencement of a parliamentary inquiry.

It was announced last week that NSW Parliament would look into the current and future provision of health services in the rapidly growing region.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren, who has been vocal in his calls for improved services, especially at Campbelltown Hospital, welcomed the announcement.

"Health services in south-west Sydney have been inadequate for far too long... despite near record population growth," he said.

"Whether it's extensive emergency department waiting times, a distinct lack of services and support for those with mental health issues, or a blow-out in elective surgery waiting times, health services and resources are simply nowhere near good enough."

The inquiry, which will be undertaken by the Parliament's health committee, will look into a variety of aspects of the health sector.

These include the amount of money spent on local health services compared to other health districts within metropolitan Sydney, with special consideration of the rapid population growth in the south-west area.

Staffing at hospitals will be another big point, as well as "availability and shortfall of mental, community and allied health services".

The inquiry will also investigate the "need for and feasibility of a future hospital location in the south-west Sydney growth region to service the growing population as part of the Aerotropolis land use plan".

Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong said the region's health services definitely needed a funding boost.

"As one of Sydney's fastest-growing regions, we desperately need more health funding and more health services to cater for this growth," he said.

"Our local health service is already under enormous pressure.

"People in my community are suffering for longer, travelling great distances to access health services or facing lengthy delays whether for surgery or at the emergency department.

"This inquiry will no doubt highlight the government's neglect of south-west Sydney but we will continue to demand better access to health services and a fair go. All we want is our fair share."

Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith said the inquiry would provide a great framework for consultation to assist with the provision of health services, and encouraged people to make a submission to the inquiry.

"The provision of health services in this area is a high priority for the Berejiklian/Barilaro government and I look forward to the inquiry," he said.

"It is important to receive input from all stakeholders in this matter.

"Already in the current budget period the NSW Government has committed $120 million for an upgrade of Bowral Hospital and $632 million for an upgrade of Campbelltown Hospital.

"This is stark contract to the previous government which did not prioritise services to the south-west region."

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves said he welcomed the inquiry into the current and future provision of health services in the South-West Sydney Growth Region.

"The inquiry is important to determine the current and future provision of health services in the South-West Sydney Growth Region and to ensure that they cater for the forecasted population growth," he said.

"It is also important to compare health services in the South-West Sydney Growth Region to other Local Health Districts across metropolitan Sydney since 2011.

"I encourage all stakeholders of the SWSLHD (from Bankstown to Bowral) to make submissions.

"As the Member of Camden, I especially encourage residents in Wollondilly, Camden and Liverpool to consider making submissions."

Opposition spokesman for health, Ryan Park, said it was important health services kept growing to meet the needs of a larger population.

"Everyone knows that there is going to be significant increases in population across the south-west, but funding for important health services and hospitals has to keep up and at the moment that is simply not happening," he said.

"Health services are stretched and there is an enormous amount of pressure on local hospitals and their emergency departments.

"Labor welcomes this inquiry and hopes that it delivers a clear path forward for additional investment into the area and identifies ways to improve current health services for local residents."

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves was contacted for comment.