Health isn’t just about doctors and hospitals. It incorporates aged care, mental health care, allied health services dentistry and general medical services. It is vital regional people have access to health services – ranging from nursing posts in remote areas, to a doctor in a regional town, to specialists in major regional centres.
In government The Nationals WA invested record amounts of funding to deliver better regional healthcare and improve regional health outcomes. It helped lessen the gap in healthcare services across regional WA, however, people living outside the metropolitan area still suffer poorer health outcomes than their city cousins.
We continue to advocate for more regional doctors, greater patient travel assistance, investment in infrastructure and technologies to assist regional health service delivery and adequate trauma response through St John Ambulance, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Emergency Telehealth and emergency rescue helicopter services.
There should never be any stigma associated with mental illness and people in need should have access to appropriate support, understanding and treatment.
The Nationals WA believe in funding community programs to promote mental health and wellbeing, initiating early intervention strategies and ensuring affordable treatment options are.
Youth mental health programs have shown success in educating young people how to support others, as well as identifying those at risk through early intervention programs and then more targeted strategies.
Drugs and alcohol
The use of drugs and alcohol in our society causes a range of issue for users, their families and the community.
The Nationals WA support rehabilitation and sobering-up centres to assist people recover from alcohol and/or drug abuse. Well-resourced intensive treatment and recovery programs with follow up counselling for users and affected family members will provide the best long-term outcomes for families.
We also support mandatory drug and alcohol education programs in schools to ensure students are aware of health dangers associated with use.
People living with a disability need appropriate services and support structures to enjoy a high quality of living and reach their own potential.
A one-size approach to service delivery does not work for individuals living in regional areas, so a higher degree of flexibility is required. The Nationals WA believe individuals and families living with disability should be involved in making decisions that best suit their circumstances.
With the introduction of NDIS and the Federal Government taking responsibility for disability services, The Nationals WA believe the State Government needs to ensure individuals are supported and effective agency services are in place to clearly identify and address service gaps.
Seniors and aged care
Enabling our senior citizens to stay in their community, close to family and friends is important to The Nationals WA. The ageing and elderly must be supported to stay in their communities – living independently where appropriate – for as long as possible.
Regional WA has an older population demographic than the metropolitan area. Over the next decade the number of people in regional WA aged over 70 is expected to double. Age appropriate and care facilities in regional communities allow ageing in place so individuals remain connected to family, friends and the support networks they need.
The benefits of keeping older people in their communities include:
- General improvement in the wellbeing of seniors by enabling them to stay where they have lived their whole life and maintain social connections.
- Seniors continuing to spend their money in the local community.
- Continued engagement of seniors in volunteering and unpaid community work.
Employment opportunities in aged care, health care and associated services.