No helipad just part of Ballarat health woes

Australian Greens candidate for Ballarat West Leon Dwyer will speak at a community meeting tonight called to support a helipad in Ballarat. He will tell the meeting that he supports the community call for a helipad, but other critical health issues must also be addressed.

“This is an emotional issue, like many others in the community I have been touched by grief from recent events,” said Leon Dwyer.

Leon knew Claire Smith, aka “Becky Bloodnut”, through his involvement in the Ballarat Roller Derby League.

“I have spoken with those working at the coalface in our emergency services and while no one would refuse the offer of a helipad, there are clearly other priorities that must also be addressed.”

“At the same time, everyone feels that if it was one of our friends or family in need of rapid transit we would want the appropriate facilities to be there.”

“People want a health system that first of all keeps us out of hospitals. Mental illness accounts for a significant proportion of admissions to emergency departments, we need serious investment in early intervention mental health services.”

“The emergency department at the Base Hospital is stretched, our paramedics are under staffed, underpaid and work long hours with short brakes.”

“A shortage of GPs puts further pressure on the system. The ambulance depot at the Base Hospital needs work, it is not efficient and difficult to transfer patients there.”

“Some things are unavoidable, there will always be emergencies like Claire's case, which perhaps highlights why we should have had a helipad long ago. Taking the pressure of our emergency system by investing in preventative health allows us to better deal with the unavoidable.”

Greens MP Colleen Hartland wrote to the ombudsman two weeks ago calling for an inquiry into ambulance services. The Greens will be seeking improvements in line with the recommendations of that inquiry.

“The helipad is a capital expense with little ongoing costs and it's something I support along with increased staffing, better working conditions and equipment upgrades.”

“I congratulate the community for their work on this campaign and hope we can work together to get better health outcomes for all.”

For media and comment contact Leon Dwyer via 0415 755 181



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