Facts on the ground will shape opinions

THE WESTERN NSW Local Health District (LHD) and its masters must understand that people of Dubbo and the Orana region are not afraid to fight for their rights.

It's not that long ago that they rallied in the streets because the massive debts of the LHD's predecessor were putting patients at risk.

People power forced the former Labor state government to act.

A senior health official moved on and creditors were paid.

Five years on the health system appears to be in reasonable shape and on the right track.

Dubbo has secured almost $80 million for redevelopment of its public hospital and the current Liberal/National state government is asking LHDs to find efficiency savings and redirect them into frontline services.

The Western NSW LHD reports of reducing its spending by $4 million through multiple means, including less reliance on locums at facilities including Dubbo Base Hospital.

But unions and the state opposition are screaming budget cuts and warning that services will be adversely affected.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner will have none of it.

She reports the state health budget is a record $17.3 billion and together with efficiency savings will be able to cater for a bigger patient workload.

Dubbo and the Orana region have no reason to doubt regular visitor Mrs Skinner or the efforts of the Western NSW LHD in trying to be efficient.

But if it all falls in a heap, the citizens of this region will absolutely rise to their feet.

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