ACTIONS speak louder than words and results speak louder than promises.
And the Western NSW Local Health District has again been put on notice that Bathurst is watching and waiting for real improvements to local services.
This time, though, those warnings are set to come with the full backing of Bathurst Regional Council.
Councillor Warren Aubin will tonight table a notice of motion calling on council to formally commit to ongoing dialogue with the Western NSW LHD about improving health resourcing within our region.
And Cr Aubin does not want empty talk; his notice of motion includes a list of serious discussion points for council to pursue.
Some - such as the call for the LHD to abandon its plans for an emergency orthopaedic service in Bathurst in favour of a full-time service and a request that the LHD "guarantee to continuity of services at Daffodil Cottage and for mental health for the Bathurst community" - are operational matters that should be achievable with a combination of will on the part of health authorities and funding from the state government.
Other points, though, call for systemic change that will require a major policy shift within the state's health network.
The first is that Cr Aubin will ask council to "commence urgent discussions with the Local Health District and NSW Government over a three-hub referral network model that elevates Bathurst to the same status as Orange and Dubbo within the Local Health District framework".
And the second is for council to "commence discussions with Lithgow City Council on its preferred local health district model".
But after decades of dissatisfaction with the way Bathurst has been treated, maybe it is time for such radical thinking.
As this newspaper and this community has said before, we don't expect a health service that can cater for every ailment, but we do expect a service that doesn't render our city the poor cousin of centres such as Orange and Dubbo.
Bathurst is one of the fastest growing regional cities in NSW and yet our hospital can't treat a broken arm on most days of the week.
Cr Aubin wants the full might of council to join the fight for better resourcing, and it would be a brave councillor who publicly spoke out against such a plan.
What do you think?
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