Kevn Hogan, MP for Page

I was recently invited to the opening of the $175,000 State Government-funded Northern Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service and Northern NSW Rural Spinal Cord Injury Service perfectly located next to the rehabilitation unit at Ballina Hospital.

We have many outstanding health professions across numerous disciplines here on the North Coast. We also have some fantastic state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Lismore Base Cancer Unit and the soon-to-be upgraded emergency departments at Ballina and Lismore, and hopefully I will be able to announce an upgrade of Casino ED in the near future.

We also have a great network of dedicated and talented GPs, who are usually the first people we turn to when we have an ailment. Then there are the allied health workers who provide on-going care in the home.

Yet I am also acutely aware that as the population ages the demand for health care will increase. We are not alone in having to deal with this demographic shift, it’s a national trend.

However, it means we must start thinking about how we can deliver our quality health care services in a more seamless and effective way.

Over the last month, I have contacted local leaders in different health care areas to invite them to a meeting. The idea is to open a dialogue between our various experts so each knows what the other is doing.

The hope is that patient care will improve as experts in field ‘A’ learn about what is happening in field ‘B’ and how it may benefit someone in their care. I want to make it easier for people to navigate around the health care maze.

It will also create an informal medical ‘brain trust’ to allow the cross-pollination of ideas and improve outcomes.