A new collaborative primary health care model will be trialled across western NSW to help improve health service delivery and workforce shortages in rural areas.
And the '4Ts' as they've come to be known - the Trundle, Tullamore, Trangie and Tottenham communities - will be the first of these trial sites.
The investment was made as part of the regional health package announced in the Federal Budget this month.
Mayor Ken Keith OAM said he and his fellow councillors were very pleased to hear of the allocation to develop and trial the model, especially with the first taking place in the Parkes Shire.
The federal announcement made by Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton was tabled at Parkes Shire Council's monthly meeting in Tullamore on Tuesday.
Securing and retaining doctors and other health services continues to be a struggle for Parkes, and even more so in smaller areas like Trundle and Tullamore.
"Health services available for regional Australia remains a vexing issue for all levels of government," Cr Keith said.
"Parkes Council has been working in a very collegial way with Western NSW Local Health District, NSW Rural Doctors Network, Western NSW Primary Health Network and our health district partner Forbes Shire Council.
"Several meetings have been held looking for solutions to provide sustainable health services to the region, knowing fundamental change is needed.
"We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the various health agencies to develop these new health care models that will improve health outcomes for the area."
Cr Keith recommended a letter be sent to Mr Coulton, thanking him for his support in connecting health care for the '4Ts'.
Mr Coulton said the coalition government was investing in a first-of-a-kind primary care model as part of a broader effort to improve health outcomes for rural Australians.
The 2020-21 Budget has invested $3.3 million in the new models of primary care and expands rural training opportunities to build the rural workforce of the future.
Mr Coulton said the '4Ts' project will test the suitability and sustainability of a shared health workforce across the region.
"Part of this will include shared GP services and telehealth will ensure resources are better harnessed and available across the region," he said.
"Telehealth will complement in-community service to ensure locals from any of the towns can access services at any time."
The 4Ts model has been under development for some time with the Western NSW Collaboration, which comprises the Western NSW Primary Health Network, Western NSW Local Health District, Far Western NSW Local Health District and NSW Rural Doctors Network.
This collaborative approach will not only ensure communities have a standard of health care they deserve, but help towns retain their health care professionals.
"What we'll see is a more permanent presence in those communities," Mr Coulton said.
"This team approach will mean that there's a network of doctors, nurses and allied health workers supporting each other."
He said this model would also see the Local Health District invest money into permanent employment, rather than on locum staff.
What do you think?
Send a letter to the editor by filling out the online form below.