The Gunnedah Shire Council has made a submission for the 2023 inquiry into the implementation of Portfolio Committee No.2 recommendations.

It relates to ‘workforce issues, workplace culture and funding considerations for remote, rural and regional health’.

The Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment was outlined in the Gunnedah submission.

The Select Committee on Remote, Rural and Regional Health was established to oversee the government progress on the implementation of recommendations.

Gunnedah Shire Council discussed the previously promised new hospital which underwent a revised scope and design in July this year.

It had a significant reduction in design due to the increase of global construction costs but would still be allocated the $53 million promised.

The submission focused on:

“Any challenges or opportunities relating to the implementation of recommendations relating to workforce issues, workplace culture and funding considerations for remote, rural and regional health;

“Staffing numbers, recruitment and retention, and related workforce management and planning issues (including recommendations 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, and 33);

“Staff accreditation and training (including recommendations 19, 23 and 29);

“Workplace culture, including forthcoming reviews of workplace culture and complaint handling mechanisms (including recommendation 40); and

“Funding for agencies, programs and incentives (including recommendations 1 and 38).”

The initial inquiry in health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW was launched in 2020 and had submissions concerning healthcare.

The first inquiry submission revealed that many people in the Gunnedah community feel as if the current hospital needs improvement of health services and facilities.

A large issue Gunnedah faced during that first submission was the shortages of general practitioners.

The new submission predicted there will be compromises to ‘staffing, recruitment and retention workforce management and planning’ if the current planned hospital is implemented.

It argued the reduced scope will result in staff accreditation and training will be at a disadvantage compared to the original design.

The original plan hoped to aid Gunnedah by gaining general practitioners and visiting medial officers.

The submission stated there may be hospitalisations that could have been resolved with previous treatment.

It also mentions the under serviced palliative care in Gunnedah that sometimes results in patents unable to stay in Gunnedah for their final moments.

Patients often travel to Tamworth due to the insufficient facilities Gunnedah currently provides.

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