Health minister visits city

Monday, 26th November, 2012

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek with local doctor Funmi Komolafe. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek with local doctor Funmi Komolafe.

By Emily Roberts

The recent visit by the Federal Health Minister shows the government's commitment to health in Broken Hill, according to the city's Deputy Mayor and Labor Branch President.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek visited the city over the weekend and during her stay she attended the new GP Super Clinic site, the University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

In her first visit to Broken Hill since becoming health minister, Ms Plibersek said the GP Super Clinic would deliver better access to health services for locals.

"GP Super Clinics like the one being built here in Broken Hill are a key part of the Gillard Government's strategy to build a stronger front line healthcare system," she said.

"Super clinics bring together a broad range of health professionals to work as a team and provide patients with a high standard of overall care."

Ms Plibersek attended the site of the new Super Clinic to turn the "first sod" of soil.

She also visited the BHUDRH for the opening of a clinical simulation wing.

"Simulated work environments are state of the art training facilities that help prepare students for work by giving them life like experience of working in a hospital or clinic," Ms Plibersek said.

"By providing the necessary training through the new clinical simulation wing at Broken Hill, we will be better able to ensure the very best practice in care for patients in rural and remote areas of Far West NSW."

The wing includes simulation laboratories, a control room, meeting spaces, and new offices and will house three high-tech manikins that can be programmed to mimic real-life scenarios.

These manikins and other simulation resources and equipment were purchased through funding made available by Health Workforce Australia, an Australian Government Initiative.

These resources will enable advanced training in adult medical, surgical, paediatric and critical care, midwifery and obstetric skills.

The simulation laboratory is set up like a hospital emergency department with trauma situations able to be replicated so that students are better able to handle emergency medicine situations.

BHUDRH Clinical Medical Stream Director Dr Malcolm Moore applauded the federal government's investment for the benefit of the Broken Hill community, students and academics servicing it.

"The simulation laboratory will provide students with hands-on experience in saving lives in a non-confronting environment that the use of the manikins creates," Dr Moore said.

"Through shared use of our new facilities, our partner organisations and their broad range of health professionals will also be able to hone their professional skills - a boon for all of Broken Hill."

On Sunday, Ms Plibersek attended a morning tea hosted by the local ALP branch. Labor Branch President and Broken Hill Deputy Mayor, Darriea Turley said the morning was "a great opportunity for the local ALP branch to host a morning tea for the health minister".

"They (the members) were able to have "one-on-one" time to raise their concerns on issues and congratulate the government on their achievements," Ms Turley said.

"Her visit shows the government is, no doubt, invested in health in Broken Hill - especially with the GP Super Clinic and the new structure at the University Department of Rural Health. These will contribute to a better health community."

Ms Turley said it was a special occasion to have a visit from the health minister.

"It's rare to have such an important minister to visit," she said.

"She brought her family with her, they went to Silverton, the Sculptures and the minister even visited the Regional Aquatic Centre.

"She was able to experience all of Broken Hill and the Broken Hill community had a chance to spend time with her.

"They were also able to hear from her what position health (system) is in."