Healthcare Boost for Broken Hill

Ryan Park and Roy Butler on Key Worker Accommodation

Broken Hill is set to benefit from the state government’s $45.3 million investment in accommodation for key healthcare workers, hoping to solve the issue of attracting, recruiting, and retaining staff in regional healthcare settings.

Minister for Health and Regional Health, Ryan Park, visited Broken Hill Hospital on Monday afternoon to tour the facilities and the site of 14 new modern, sustainable, and self-contained worker accommodation, telling media the construction of these units will enable better essential healthcare outcomes.

“What we do know about regional, rural, and remote healthcare is that accommodation for medical staff, healthcare professionals, allied healthcare staff, and nursing staff to come in is important,” he said.

“The focus is around accommodation. This was raised in the Regional, Rural and Remote Health Inquiry. It was something that as I move across regional, rural, and remote NSW, people tell me that one of the challenges to coming out here and getting staff and retaining staff to more remote settings is the accommodation.

“This is about investing in the health service, it’s about investing in the community, and it’s trying to make sure that we’re delivering more than just a good health service.

“It’s a good investment in the town, but it gives confidence to the health service. The men and women who lead this health service, both at a district level and here at the Broken Hill Health Service, do remarkable work. This health service is very much appreciated.”

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, said it was an important step towards getting essential workers into regional NSW, citing the incentives the current state government has implemented since taking office in March that combine to make it an attractive relocation.

“[It’s] incredibly important. When you look at getting essential workers into regional New South Wales, there’s been several barriers and certainly one at the forefront is accommodation. If you don’t have anywhere to accommodate people, it’s very hard to bring them out,” he said.

“Providing this accommodation makes it easier to attract people in to fill those essential worker positions and that means we can then see an even better standard of health care within the community, which is what I think everyone wants to see. If we can’t accommodate people, it’s very hard to give them a job.

“I know the Council has also been looking at options for essential worker accommodation. With everything that’s happening, whether it’s initiated by [NSW] Health and the Minister or whether it’s initiated by Council, there’s a lead time. There’s a time it takes to make it happen and unfortunately, we’ve got to get from where we are now to that destination.

“But the good news is it’s on the horizon. It’s not something that’s a maybe, it’s going to happen, it is going to increase the ability to attract and retain people, and for those specialists who come in short-term, there’s an option there to be able to accommodate specialist short-term workers, which again means that less people hopefully will have to travel to Adelaide or Dubbo or Orange for services.”

Construction on the units on the northern side of Broken Hill Hospital site will begin in early 2024, with a look towards having them up and running in the second half of 2024.

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