Parkes Shire Council invites all community members, residents and health professionals in the Parkes region to attend a public meeting on Tuesday 10 December from 6.30pm until 8.30pm to discuss the delivery and models of health services at Parkes Hospital.

In June this year, NSW Health announced the closure of the Maternity Unit at the Parkes Hospital. Since this decision was made Council has continued to lobby the State Government to restore services to Parkes and has regularly met with neighbouring councils, health professionals and concerned residents to discuss and explore acceptable alternate models of service delivery.

Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "this is a State Government issue where local government has had to step in to strongly advocate to ensure that the level of health services that regional communities should expect in 2019 are provided."

"This is not a forgotten issue or one that can be simply swept under the table. Healthcare is fundamental to our community. Access to the level of healthcare that we have previously received in our state-of-the-art hospital such as emergency, level 3 birthing and surgeries should be a given. It is beyond belief that as a growing community we are having to fight for these medical services to be reinstated."

As a result of escalating community concern, Parkes Shire Council resolved to facilitate a public meeting to provide an opportunity for the community to raise issues and discuss a future strategy to attract and maintain medical professionals and reinstate the services at Parkes Hospital.

"This public meeting is an opportunity to hear from health and government representatives about the current issues and how they are working towards a solution, while providing a platform for the community to ask questions and share their concerns and ideas for the future," said Mayor Keith.

Manager Rural Medical Services Initiatives at NSW Rural Doctors Network, Estrella Lowe will facilitate the meeting which will involve representatives from the Western NSW Local Health District, NSW Government, Rural Doctors Network, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, as well as Local Government representatives.

The outcomes of the meeting will be collated and submitted to the NSW Minister for Health The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP.

The public meeting will be held at Parkes Services Club on Tuesday 10 December 2019, commencing at 6.30pm until 8.30pm. Members of the community can register their attendance via Eventbrite.

Prior to the public meeting, community members are encouraged to share their stories, concerns, ideas and questions via Council's Social Pinpoint platform. Submissions received will be gathered into themes and presented on the night. Submissions are anonymous to the public.