Confusion. Frustration. Anger. Frightened.

This is how the community described how they felt about the current service delivery arrangements at Parkes Hospital.

As a result of escalating community concern, Parkes Shire Council facilitated 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.

Over 100 community members and health professionals attended the meeting on Tuesday 10th December, held at the Parkes Services Club.

The meeting was chaired by Parkes Mayor Councillor Ken Keith OAM, and the keynote address was provided by Parkes Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Barbara Newton who summarised the submissions received from the community prior to the public meeting.

"Health care is not a local government issue - it is a state and federal government issue," Cr Newton said.

"The community expectation has never been for additional services, but rather for the level of service that was set out with the new hospital and what people should expect for a growing, prosperous regional community."

"Tonight is about asking the appropriate people for honest, to-the-point answers regarding maternity, ambulance services, emergency, operating theatres and doctors."

Representatives from Lachlan Area Health, NSW Rural Doctors Network, NSW Ambulance, as well as Parkes Shire Council formed a panel to answer questions from the audience, help clarify points of confusion, and inform the community of the next steps.

Western NSW Local Health District CEO, Scott McLachlan said while they are yet to find a solution, they are confident that alternate models of service delivery will be found for Parkes Hospital.

Midwife-led birthing, incentive employment models, as well as a pilot recruitment program have all been proposed.

"I give my full commitment to take forward every proposal we can to the Government", Mr McLachlan added.

Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "while the public meeting was a great opportunity for our community to speak directly with the relevant decision-makers in our health system, we still don't have any answers."

"We will now pursue further action to seek out the answers. Council will not let this state government issue simply be dismissed."

Local Member Philip Donato was also in attendance and challenged the panel on issues the community had raised with him. He made it clear that he would continue to strongly advocate for the community on this critical issue.

In closing out the meeting, the Mayor thanked those in attendance for their honesty and respect during the panel discussion, as well as welcomed more clear and open communication between the Local Health District and the community.

"The next step for Council is to collate the issues and ideas discussed during the meeting, as well as submissions received prior, and present them to the NSW Minister for Health The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP," the Mayor concluded.