Scrutiny follows shocking NSW rural health revelations

·2-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

How well NSW learned from a shocking inquiry into the state of health care in the bush is set to be examined by a parliamentary committee.

A new select committee was appointed on Thursday to analyse how recommendations from the inquiry into rural and regional health are being implemented, Health Minister Ryan Park announced on Thursday.

In the inquiry's report last year, witnesses described emergency departments without doctors and patients left to die on bathroom floors, and cooks and cleaners being made to work as carers.

All people in NSW were entitled to access safe and quality medical care regardless of whether they lived in the city or bush, Mr Park said.

"The rural and regional health inquiry, which I fought so hard to establish in opposition, highlighted the crisis facing rural, remote and regional services such as these," he said.

"This select committee will ensure they get the support they need to care for their local communities."

The report made 44 recommendations, including that the state government work with the federal government on a 10-year strategy to boost the number of healthcare workers in the regions.

The former Perrottet government accepted 41 of those recommendations, but rejected calls for a second mental health inquiry and an independent complaints body.

Health care had hit crisis levels and became the No.1 issue in regional and rural communities, said committee chair Joe McGirr who is the independent MP for Wagga Wagga.

"It is unacceptable that the life expectancy of those in the regions is less than those in metropolitan areas."

Earlier this year, Greens health spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said many regional people felt abandoned by the former government after the inquiry.

"I heard horror stories of understaffed regional hospitals leading to completely avoidable accidents and deaths," she said.

The committee will be able to analyse the financial performances of government agencies and compare healthcare settings from NSW and around the country.