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Hartsuyker and Stoner demand urgent intervention to address health crisis in Dorrigo.



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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Email:greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker Andrew Stoner

Federal Member for Cowper State Member for Oxley

Leader of the NSW Nationals

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

June 26, 2008

Hartsuyker and Stoner demand urgent intervention to address health crisis in Dorrigo

The New South Wales Health Minister and the Federal Minister for Health need to urgently intervene to ensure medical services are reinstated in Dorrigo, Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker and the State Member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner said today.

Mr Hartsuyker and Mr Stoner were commenting after Dorrigo’s two doctors went on strike because of delays in getting the NSW Medical Board to assess the application of an additional doctor for the town.

Mr Hartsuyker, who is in Canberra for Federal Parliament, said he had made representations to the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, urging her to fast-track the assessment process.

“Small communities, such as Dorrigo, struggle to attract new doctors and it is unacceptable if the opportunity to secure another doctor is jeopardised by an inefficient assessment process.

“Kevin Rudd is on the record as saying that the buck stops with him on health. As a result I have urged Mr Rudd’s Federal Health Minister to intervene in order to have this issue resolved.

“Areas of workplace shortage are generally defined as having a ratio of 1 in 1400. Dr Herb and his colleague are serving more than 3,800 residents and it is clear that Dorrigo health services are completely stretched.”

Mr Stoner said whilst the NSW Medical Board is an independent body, ongoing delays in the assessment process were causing significant stress for the existing full time and part time doctors.

“Dr Horst Herb and his part time colleague provide an invaluable service to the Dorrigo community but it is clear they can not meet the growing demand for medical care,” Mr Stoner said.

“Dr Herb has gone to a lot trouble to find an additional doctor. He has found a doctor who already works in the NSW health system but wants to relocate to Dorrigo. It is simply unacceptable that the NSW Medical Board continues to delay making a decision on whether the new doctor is able to practice in Dorrigo.

“When Dr Herb contacted me last Monday I made urgent representations to the NSW Health Minister, Reba Meagher, seeking her immediate intervention to halt the delays in assessment by the NSW Medical Board.

”The Board can not continue to delay making a decision.” Ends