Hosted by the Federal Labor candidate for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, the forum at Springwood Sports Club attracted community health workers, nurses, doctors, other health workers and the general public.
Ms Templeman said there were many valuable insights from people about issues that need to be considered as the reforms are implemented.
“There is a clear message from the community that they expect to be consulted about and involved in the roll out of the new independent primary health care organisations and the local hospitals network,” she said.
“And I am very supportive of the views that were put that the 1300 new hospital beds and 2500 new aged care beds need to be supported by additional qualified nursing staff.”
Guest speaker Barbra Monley, a member of the NSW Nurses Association who works at Blue Mountains Hospital, reminded the audience that the best health care required “the right nurse, in the right place, at the right time”.
Chair of the Division of General Practice, Dr Andrew Knight, said that “a lot of sensible people” had been consulted during the development of the Federal Government’s health reforms, but that it was important that local consultation occurred for the next steps.
Ms Templeman said the forum showed there was a strong desire in the community for change in the health system.
“The Rudd Government has the political will to make these historic changes, and Tony Abbott will be going against community wishes if he chooses to block these reforms in the Senate,” she said.
Liberal candidate for Macquarie, Louise Markus — who did not attend the forum — said Blue Mountains residents remain “no better informed as to how many extra doctors, nurses, and aged care places will be provided under the Rudd Labor government’s so-called health reforms”.
“For the last 30 months Kevin Rudd has flown around Australia talking about health reforms. In the last six weeks Mr Rudd has continued talking but cannot say exactly when, where or how these reforms will be delivered.”