The New South Wales Government needs to immediately guarantee adequate and appropriate funding to the North Coast Area Health Service, the Member for Ballina, Don Page said today.

“For a few years now we have known the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) has not received its share of money, and now that has been further highlighted in the final report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Acute Care Services in NSW Public Hospitals,” Mr Page said.

“In the report Commissioner Garling said he had been told the Area Health Service had been under-funded by approximately $70 million a year.

“It’s time the New South Wales Government committed itself to the residents of the North Coast.

“Residents, clinicians and NCAHS staff deserve better.

“We live in an area that has a higher proportion of elderly residents than the State average.

“The NCAHS needs adequate funding to provide basic health services to people in need.

“The State Labor Government was singing its own praises last week when it announced it would be receiving $5 billion as its share of the Commonwealth’s $15.1 billion COAG reform package.

“Premier Rees said the money would be spent on frontline services for the families of NSW including health.

“There is therefore no reason for Premier Rees not to allocate extra funding to the NCAHS.

“Premier Nathan Rees has given a personal assurance that his government will follow through on the Garling report with action.

“It’s pretty clear what action needs to take place with regard to the NCAHS.

“Let’s see if Premier Rees’ actions really do speak louder than words – give the NCAHS the money it deserves and is entitled to immediately.”