Health services in the regions was once again a feature of our state conference this year. The inequity clearly continues in the regions and the CWA will continue to work on improving access to health care and hospital services in the bush.
A number of motions were put forward by branches on enduring problems such as nursing staff, as well as new and emerging issues and diseases to which country people are particularly vulnerable.
I think its fair to say we all learnt something new with members who brought motions through their branches presenting well researched positions and articulating strong arguments for each cause.
The issue of public cancer clinics in regional, rural and remote areas was the first health-related motion brought to conference delegates. Members are seeking affordable on-going treatment for all cancer related illnesses within a reasonably accessible location.
We heard about the deadly Naegleria Fowleri which is typically found in warm freshwater and soil. Our members are seeking an awareness campaign on the dangers of this micro-organism after the tragic deaths of three young children in rural Queensland.
We also discussed the problem of the availability of post-mortems in regional and rural centres. Most post-mortems are carried out in Newcastle which is delaying funerals and significantly increasing costs in already tragic circumstances. Where there is the equipment available in regional hospitals, we need to be training health professionals to carry out post-mortems.
Nursing was the subject of a number of policy motions, with members supporting the employment of more registered nurses and enrolled nurses in rural and remote areas, and payments for trainee nursing staff in aged care services.
Scoliosis was also discussed, with delegates approving the proposal for an awareness campaign of the importance of screening for the disease at an appropriate age, as well as including the bracing to be included in Medicare.
Finally on the health topic, our members passed a motion seeking an instantly recognisable symbol for Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines, as well as promotion of the symbol.
We thank the members and branches for their hard work in bringing these important topics to become policy of the CWA of NSW. It is through this tireless work of forming timely, current, grassroots policy that we are able to present ourselves to the government and politicians as a relevant and credible organisation.
I am delighted and very proud to be elected as the next President of the CWA of NSW , I thank the members for their support and belief in me. I look forward to working with our members and the community in progressing the issues on not only health, but also regional education, agriculture and environment, and social issues for the bush.