Emotional public meeting on Parkes' health and maternity services

More than 100 people gathered at the Parkes Services Club on Tuesday night for a public meeting to address the town's health service issues, hosted by Parkes Shire Council.

The key themes discussed at the meeting, which ran for two hours, were the level of services around maternity, the emergency department, operating theatres, ambulance services, and doctors.

Scott McLachlan CEO Western NSW Local Health District, Liz Mitchell General Manager Lachlan Area Health, Inspector Peter Rowlands NSW Ambulance, Emer O'Callaghan Senior Manager of Workforce Solutions NSW Rural Doctors Network, Cr Ken Keith OAM Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Barbara Newton Parkes Shire Deputy Mayor sat on the panel to answer several of the community's questions, which extensively involved Parkes' maternity service.

Member for Orange Phil Donato was also among those present at the forum and asked a number questions.

Speaking on behalf of the residents of the Parkes Shire, Deputy Mayor Barb Newton said our hospital is only four years old.

"The expectation of services set for the community when we received our new hospital appears to be far from what is being provided in reality," she said.

"We have a hospital, or a health care system, that is not providing the care that the community is telling us that it accepts.

"The maternity services have become non-existent, we have two state-of-the-art theatres not being used, an emergency department that is not working at a level that the community expects, and an ambulance service that is very much under pressure.

"Understandably the community of Parkes and the surrounding areas are confused, frustrated and extremely angry."

The Mayors of Parkes and Forbes will now take the concerns and suggestions that came out of the meeting directly to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

To watch the meeting in its entirety and listen to the questions and answers, head to the Parkes Champion Post's Facebook page.

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