Dalton tables 1000-strong petition demanding NSW Government address Wentworth doctor crisis during Covid-19 pandemic

11 August, 2020
Dalton tables 1000-strong petition demanding NSW Government address Wentworth doctor crisis during Covid-19 pandemic   Image

Murray MP Helen Dalton has presented a petition of more than 1,000 signatures to NSW Parliament, demanding the state government fund a new medical facility in Wentworth


“As Covid-19 rages through Victoria, the town of Wentworth is extremely vulnerable,” Mrs Dalton said


“The NSW Government is preventing people from crossing the border. So Wentworth Shire’s 8,000 residents face an absolute disaster if there’s a Covid-19 outbreak in the town,”


“The fact that people have to cross the state border to access basic health care is in itself a disgrace.”


“If the NSW Government builds a fit-for-purpose facility to accommodate medical staff, it would make it much easier for the town to attract a doctor.”


“That fact that 1,000 people in such a small town signed this petition shows the urgency of the situation.”


Wentworth has not had a GP clinic since February, when the town lost its last remaining full-time doctor.


A local community group, Wentworth District Community Medical Centre Inc (WDCMC), have organised a petition which calls on the NSW Government to fund “a fit for purpose facility that can accommodate full-time doctors… [and to] support the community’s work in recruitment and retention of practitioners”.


“The months since [February] have been full of anxiety for locals as they try to find alternate GPs, arrange transport and negotiate with GP clinics, many of which have limited capacity for new clients,” WDCMC said in a statement.


“[NSW Health data shows] how limited access to Doctors and primary health services can impact on a community. Across almost two decades, Wentworth has had poorer results than the rest of NSW, with little or no improvement.


“Research by the NSW Rural Doctors Network has identified that a significant barrier to recruitment is the financial burden of investing in clinic infrastructure”.


Mrs Dalton tabled the petition on Thursday.


 “Given the billions of dollars the NSW Government is spending on Covid-19 related stimulus in Sydney, they should be able to cover the cost of infrastructure in Wentworth to support the retention of a full-time doctor,” Mrs Dalton said


 “The government does nothing for the Far West unless we make some noise. So let’s make as much as possible.”


The NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard must provide a written response to the petition within 30 days.


Mrs Dalton previously wrote a joint letter with Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Melisa Hendrics urging the NSW Government fund a new Wentworth hospital. 


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