Health care a priority

By ED SOUTHORN

Health Reporter

A NSW coalition government would shake up public health administration by replacing regional health services with district health boards, State Nationals leader Andrew Stoner said yesterday.

Instead of the North Coast Area Health Service, which administers public hospitals from the border to Port Macquarie, the Coalition would have more smaller, locally based health boards.

Visiting the Tweed to launch the coalition health policy, Mr Stoner said: "We will dis- mantle Labor's bureaucratic area health services and increase local participation in decisions about local health care."

Tweed Nationals candidate Geoff Provest said Labor's area health service boundaries had been imposed without community consultation.

"Some people might say that because the Tweed and Murwillumbah hospitals work so closely together they should share a board," Mr Provest said.

"Others might say there should be two boards.

"We will engage in genuine consultation before drawing lines on maps.

"It's ludicrous the state government is not drawing on the expertise and enthusiasm of the many talented people in the Tweed who are dedicated to caring for our community."

Mr Stoner said the district health boards would include representatives from hospitals and other health services, with clinicians and local community members.

He also said the coalition would inject $208 million over four years into public dental health to reduce the dental waiting list, currently 215,000 people across NSW, and increase the number of dentists in public hospitals.



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