The Western NSW Local Health District [WNSWLHD] hosted a public forum at Bathurst Base Hospital last Thursday to discuss a future plan for clinical services in the region.
Around 40 people attended, including Bathurst Health Service staff, community members and representatives from Bathurst Regional Council.
A variety of topics emerged from the consultation that the WNSWLHD will consider in the production of the Bathurst Community and Region Integrated Service Plan for 2019-2029.
Topics included patient access to specialist services such as MRI and emergency orthopaedics, how to cater for the ageing population, heightened awareness on mental health and improved integration of health care across GPs, hospitals and other service providers.
"The consultation was extremely positive, with health service staff given strong acknowledgement for the work they do," a spokesperson from the WNSWLHD said.
"Our plan will consider the health needs of the population in and around Bathurst, and how Bathurst Health Service works with other facilities across the WNSWLHD and beyond to ensure patients get the care they need."
Bathurst health advocate John Kellett was in attendance at the consultation, and said council need to expand their efforts in nurturing local health services.
"Council needs to exercise their leadership role in order to help create a community that places greater emphasis on health and well-being," Mr Kellett said.
"We've got this clinical services plan but we need to adopt a more holistic approach to health services, and I believe local government is the body to make this possible."
Referencing council's firm support for sporting clubs and facilities, Mr Kellett said Bathurst's sporting sector could be ideal for the promotion of preventative health programs.
"You only need to drive past Morse Park on any given afternoon and there are all these start-up fitness groups going through their paces," he said.
"We need to shift from a health system overly reliant on profit to one that focuses on the health and well-being of the community."
The Bathurst Health Service received $92.7 million as part of the state government's 2018/19 budget.
Mr Kellett hopes the new plan will yield positive results for the future of health services in the Bathurst region.
"We've got to move towards a health system where everyone is working together," he said.
"Patients come first at the end of the day, and we need to grow our network of health services as we look ahead to the future."