The Member for Ballina, Don Page, has raised in Parliament his ‘serious concerns’ about the loss of health services in the Ballina Electorate.

“In particular I am very concerned about the doctor shortages and the loss of the mobile breast screen vans in Ballina and Byron Bay,” Mr Page said.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that our hospitals are reaching a critical point where more doctors are urgently needed. 

“All three hospitals in the Ballina Electorate (Ballina, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby hospitals) have indicated publicly that they are in danger of not having enough doctors to provide emergency treatment.

“This is simply not acceptable and I have called on the NSW Government to urgently allocate the resources required to fix this potentially life-threatening situation.

“To add insult to injury, the mobile breast screen vans, which were visiting Ballina and Byron Bay on an annual basis, have now been stopped.

“The loss of this service will certainly result in fewer women accessing their free mammogram.

“If the van is local, women can be screened during their lunch break or in between family commitments.

“Many women work and will have very little opportunity to access the fixed units in Lismore and Tweed Heads.

“In an area that has virtually no public transport options available, many women will find it difficult to access their nearest screening centre.”

Mr Page said that breast cancer affects 1 in 8 Australian women, with 12,000 women being diagnosed every year.

“Early detection is the key factor which determines a woman’s survival and recovery from the disease,” Mr Page said.

“Surely the aim must be to increase the number of women who are screened for breast cancer.

“Removing the mobile vans from Ballina and Byron Bay will certainly result in fewer women accessing the free service and more women being diagnosed at a later stage, with serious consequences.

“Vital health services in the Ballina Electorate are being lost and I call on the NSW Health Minister to urgently address the problems we face.”