near Murwillumbah, NSW

The NSW Government has taken what it calls ‘another important step to rebuild essential health services across regional and rural NSW’ with the announcement of the Regional Health Ministerial Advisory Panel.

The panel, announced on 10 October, will focus on building the regional health workforce, strengthening community engagement and improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The 10-member panel, appointed for up to three years, will be chaired by the Chief Executive of the NSW Rural Doctors Network, Dr. Richard Colbran.

Members are: Dr Richard Colbran (Chair) – Sydney, Mrs Anna Barwick – Walcha (2021 NSW Pharmacist of the Year, and 2022 NSW Premier's Woman of the Year), Ms Karen Booth – Sydney (President of the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association), Mrs Christine Corby AM – Walgett, (CEO, Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and Brewarrina Aboriginal Medical Service), Cr Rick Firman OAM – Temora. (local government chair of the Temora Local Health Advisory Committee), Ms Kelly Foran (founder and CEO, Friendly Faces Helping Hands Foundation and Community Innovation Coordinator for Hunter New England Health), Mrs Louise Fox – Goulburn (District Director – Integrated Care and Allied Health for Southern NSW LHD), Ms Laura Hand-Ross – Deniliquin (Aboriginal Coordinator – Toward Zero Suicides and Mental Health Drug and Alcohol for Murrumbidgee Local Health District), Prof Jennifer May AM – Tamworth practising rural clinician, GP VMO at Tamworth and Tamara Hospitals and Director, University of Newcastle Dept of Rural Health), Ms Shana Quayle – Dapto (Acting CEO, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW).

Minister for Regional Health, Ryan Park said, ‘This important advisory body brings together a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise across a range of areas from clinical care and health service delivery to community engagement and culture and change management.

‘It’s these key connections and local experiences we’ll be drawing on to help us improve health outcomes for people living in our regions, ensuring their postcode doesn’t decide the level of healthcare they receive.’

Dr Richard Colbran added, ‘In NSW there are tremendously talented and committed professionals across the health and social care system, who work well with the Government, private and not-for-profit providers to achieve excellent outcomes for their communities.’