A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into the "broken" rural and regional health system needs country communities to speak up to fight for change, Kate Washington says.
The Shadow Minister for Rural Health is urging people living in rural and regional NSW to share their experiences with their local health system to highlight the disparities between the city and country.
"We know that there is quite a bit of reluctance in a lot of regional areas to raise issues about local health services, so if people want to make submissions anonymously, they can," Ms Washington said. "We want to get examples from across the state that demonstrate that the system is broken, that in rural and regional areas the access to health services is difficult, and we want to understand what those barriers are."
Ms Washington said making a submission to the inquiry was an opportunity for rural and regional communities to push for change and better health outcomes.
Already, data showed avoidable deaths were twice as likely in rural and regional communities compared to cities, and the median age of death for those in Sydney was more than 10 years higher than residents in some remote communities.
"We cannot afford for it to become any worse than it already is because people are losing their loved ones through errors and problems within the health system," she said. "What we want from the inquiry will be recommendations that should provide a road map for improvement."
Submissions for the Parliamentary Inquiry will close on December 13. The Shadow Minster for Health, Ryan Park, said it was important for people to share the harrowing incidents and failings of their local hospitals ahead of the public hearings next year.
"This inquiry needs...to hear from nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and importantly it needs the locals to speak up, and this is their last chance," Mr Park said.