Filling gaps in health system

In late September I attended the forum “Building a Healthy Resilient Community in Waterloo” with residents, a few small dogs, NSW Health representatives, community service providers and others.

The residents of Waterloo have rallied in the face of housing uncertainty and the prevailing threat to their social network and esoteric neighbourhood.

I learnt a thing or two about the people from Waterloo. I have been visiting people in their homes in Redfern and Waterloo for many years now. I think I’d lumped them all together. But talking to the people at the forum, I realised Waterloo has a distinct identity compared to Redfern. It’s a bit of a tribe. The people are proud of their connections, and know what is good, and what is lacking, in their community.

There was talk about gaps in health care. Here Waterloo pretty much reflects state- or nationwide issues, although the needs of those who are elderly, chronically unwell, indigenous, or on limited incomes are highly significant in this area.

In an ideal world, the Waterloo community would have access to a range of GPs, specialists and allied health care providers, who provide home visits if needed, and who bulk bill. There would be universal access to good dental care. A local quality aged care facility would allow people to stay connected despite increasing care needs.

There would be an ease of access to information and services without the burden of excessive form-filling, or the stress of dealing with confusing telephone access lines and online portals.

Come to think of it, their wish list for health care is not much different to mine.

Dr Marie Healy is a GP with interests in aged and chronic care, health promotion and planning.

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