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RDN supports call for emergency health funding


16th September 2022

NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) welcomes the AMA’s decision to hold an emergency summit of healthcare leaders in Lismore today.

RDN calls for immediate funding from the Commonwealth and State Government to support RDN’s Healthcare Flood Recovery Grant Proposal.

RDN submitted its Healthcare Flood Recovery Grant Proposal to the Government more than three months ago following the March floods. The Proposal calls for special funding to keep the doors open for critical health services, as the announced funding did not cover the unique needs and situation of these services.

Lismore is the health support centre for the region. If practitioners leave Lismore, the wider region will be destabilised. From Byron, Ballina, Wardell, Cabbage Tree Island, Broadwater, Woodburn, Coraki, Kyogle, and Casino across the Far North Coast, Lismore is vital in maintaining healthcare access to the entire district.

Government has an opportunity to make positive change and ensure this crisis in Lismore and surrounding areas never happens again by:

  • agreeing to the funding proposal outlined in RDN’s Healthcare Flood Recovery Grant Proposal and
  • supporting the AMA’s policy resolution by declaring health services as essential services for the purposes of support and recovery in the event of a disaster.

 

Statement from the Chair of NSW Rural Doctors Network, Assoc. Professor John Kramer

“I am not only the Chair of NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN), but a practising GP on the North Coast, based in Woolgoolga. I understand the criticality of the situation for these health providers and the importance of their services to the community.

This is a crisis, and RDN calls for immediate grant funding to support primary healthcare services in Lismore to ensure their long-term viability and protect the health and wellbeing of surrounding rural communities.

Some providers will be forced to close if governments don’t come together to support them.
I know personally through the work RDN does in rural communities that if this happens, it is an extremely difficult process to replace such services once they are lost.

Healthcare is an essential service to the community. Primary health care services must automatically be part of the government’s recovery plan. Private practitioners are crucial, and natural disaster recovery plans must recognise this.

I look forward to working with the Federal and State governments to make this happen.”

Assoc. Professor John Kramer Chair of NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) and practising GP in Woolgoolga.

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