Member for Barwon Roy Butler is calling for more health services such as chemotherapy and dialysis to be made available at Narrabri Hospital.

“I would love for people not to have to travel to Moree,” said Mr Butler.

Mr Butler held a health services meeting in his Narrabri office last week.

A cross-section of community representatives attended the meeting including the chief executive of the Hunter New England Local Health District Michael DiRienzo, Narrabri Chamber of Commerce member Lester Kelly, Hunter New England Health executive director for rural and regional health services Susan Heyman, chairman Regional Development Australia Northern New England Russell Stewart, Councillor Delegate to Narrabri Hospital Advisory Committee Ann Loder and Narrabri Hospital Auxiliary president Sally Alexander.

“There’s some systemic issues that we’ve raised in regards to the services that are available out of the hospital,” said Member for Barwon Roy Butler.

“Everyone was very keen to make the point early on that this wasn’t about the staff at the hospital, this was about the services that were available at the hospital.

“The really good thing that we’ve got out of Hunter New England Health coming out is that they’ve agreed to a review of the Clinical Services Plan based on population demographics and what’s happening in the area.

“It’s significant because the Clinical Services Plan is what drives the availability of different services.

“You can’t argue to introduce a new service without having a Clinical Services Plan,” said Mr Butler.

Mr Butler said he understood that there was a ‘finite budget’ but said the Clinical Services Plan would provide valuable data and help in the campaign for more health services.

“The Clinical Services Plan gives us that evidence to be able to go to the Health Minister and the Ministry and say – ‘we can demonstrate that there is a need to have a service and it needs to be found within the budget,” said Mr Butler.

Mr Butler said he also raised concerns about the different challenges and costs regional patients face when dealing with the health system.

“The other issue is around people travelling to another hospital, being discharged and then having to find their own way home,” said Mr Butler.