A new arm of the health service aimed at supporting the state's struggling rural and regional health workers has been unveiled by the NSW State Government.
The newly appointed Minister for Regional Health, Bronnie Taylor, announced the establishment of the Regional Health Division for NSW Health on Friday.
She said the Regional Health Division will support the state's commitment to bring a renewed focus on recruitment to key healthcare roles in regional NSW.
The measures aimed to "find innovative ways to support nurses, doctors, allied health practitioners, and the vital support service providers who work in healthcare facilities, to live and work in our regional communities".
"The move is a key step towards ensuring the public health system has the needs and expectations of the communities of regional NSW at its heart," Mrs Taylor said.
"Every day thousands of people receive quality care in our regional health centres, but we know that more needs to be done to address the issues facing health in regional areas, as highlighted by the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry, to ensure everybody receives good outcomes," she said.
But according to Health Services Union NSW Secretary, Gerard Hayes, the creation of a new division is not the answer.
"To a degree, certainly, this is another level of bureaucracy," he said.
"What we should be firming our focus on from a Health Services Union point of view is making sure the health dollar is spent as close as possible to direct patient care - not on building more infrastructure or creating another level of bureaucracy," Mr Hayes said.
This week members of the Nurses and Midwives' Association rallied for more staff, better working conditions and a much deserved pay increase - just one arm of a system screaming for help.
Australian Community Media published a special report in September which revealed a rural and regional hospital system under great duress.
Cessnock State MP Clayton Barr said health services are lifted or limited by the budget provided.
"So if the new Regional Health Division don't have their own budget, and sadly I suspect that they won't, then they won't be able to really deliver anything," Mr Barr said.
"I have no problem with the concept of health having a separate regional focus, but if you don't actually give them the dollars then it is just window dressing."
"This is just another slap in the the face for health workers on the ground," Mr Barr said.
Mrs Taylor said the division will sit at the top level within the Ministry of Health and ensure strong advocacy of regional health issues, while also leveraging the strengths of the NSW public health system for the benefit of regional NSW.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.