Time to boost funds for regional women’s health services

The Opposition has urged the Labor Government to inject desperately needed money into regional women’s health care in the upcoming State budget.
Leader Mia Davies said the Premier – who chose to hold the Treasury portfolio – must address the burgeoning issues across WA’s health system affecting women.
“Regional women are often vulnerable and disadvantaged in accessing health care services – there is consistently high-demand and long wait-lists,” Ms Davies said.
“Earlier this year, The Nationals WA took a $15 million Regional Women’s Health and Wellbeing Fund to the March State election – a policy that should be undertaken by this State Government.
“Our engagement with the community and stakeholders clearly outlined a lack of funding across the five dedicated women’s health clinics in South Hedland, Tom Price, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Bunbury.
“These centres are essential for the health and wellbeing of regional women as they provide clinics, dietitians, counselling, cancer support, lactation and wellbeing services.”
Ms Davies said the Labor Government had a duty to invest in services that support women and families across the State.
“The demand for these services are consistently high, with service providers reporting long lists and a need to triage the most at-risk and vulnerable women,” she said.
“These centres provide a diverse range of services to meet the needs of women in their community, including health clinics, dieticians, counselling, cancer support and lactation services, as well as wellbeing events.”
The regional centres share funding of around $1.3 million per year, which restricts the services they can provide to their communities.
“The clinics provide a safe space for women of all ages and backgrounds to access services and advice in a context that is less clinical than an emergency department or doctor surgery,” she said.
“They serve as a point of contact to engage with other support services in the community, helping women and their families navigate a complex system that can be overwhelming.
Ms Davies said the Government should provide an immediate boost to fill the gaps for the current services, as well as a long-term plan developed to expand services across the State.”
The issue was raised as part of a debate led by the Opposition in Parliament last week urging the Government to make sure the community benefited from the massive flow of iron ore royalties into State coffers.
“It’s incumbent on this McGowan Government to return some of the funds collected by the mining boom to benefit our regional communities,” she said.