THE state's opposition Minister for Health Ryan Park has weighed in on the issues facing Leeton District Hospital and the health system as a whole in regional NSW.
Mr Park said a complete overhaul was needed of rural and regional hospitals such as the one in Leeton.
With the town's hospital still operating on an on-call roster system where doctors are called to the facility when needed, the community is still pushing for a more permanent solution that works for all.
Mr Park said an overhaul of regional hospitals would potential give these facilities for support than they are currently receiving.
"The reality is at the moment, people are having to travel to access basic health services," he said.
"Everyone in rural and regional NSW that I have spoken to understand they can't get a Westmead Hospital in every town or village, but they are frustrated that there has previously been services in place that have been removed.
"Now they have to travel long distances for what most people in larger centres and cities would consider mundane and average medical issues.
"Things like maternity services. We need to have a look at getting that back."
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The Murrumbidgee Local Health District says it is working on a new model forward for the Leeton District Hospital and is currently in the process of upgrading the emergency department.
Mr Park said the findings in the inquiry into rural health would no doubt be explosive and prove why something needed to be done urgently.
"(Through this inquiry) we want to shine a spotlight on these issues and then work through the recommendations and what can be done short-term, medium-term and long-term," he said.
"We hope that given the expertise that has contributed to the inquiry, given there has been close to 800 submissions, that we can chart a path forward to try and work through that."
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage on, Mr Park said it couldn't be used to distract from the issues facing rural and regional NSW.
"People have got to understand that for too long regional and rural communities haven't had a reasonable level of health services that they need and deserve," Mr Park said.
"What we are saying is this has to be a focus for whoever is in government going forward."
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