ORANGE has a window of opportunity to lobby NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to bring forward an on-site 24-hour helicopter rescue operation, according to Cr Glenn Taylor.
Cr Taylor said the recommended implementation of an on-call service out of Orange to start next year, following the release this week of an independent review into the overhaul of statewide aeromedical services, was welcome news.
“While our member for Orange Mr Gee should be recognised for his efforts in getting this result , the petition of 30,000 names gathered for submission clearly stated what people wanted was a full 24-hour service,” Cr Taylor said.
As one of the stakeholders in the submission Cr Taylor said he wanted Orange City Council to take up the invitation of review authors Ernst and Young to submit comments and suggestions on the report before it goes to Parliament.
“What we want to say is that while we are extremely encouraged by the on-call recommendations for next year, we think that it is too long to wait to 2018 for an on-site 24-hour service and will be asking Ms Skinner to bring that date forward,” he said.
Mr Taylor conceded the previous helicopter review delivered by the former Labor government in 2010 fell short of adequately addressing the issues surrounding aeromedical services in the state.
“I do think they dropped the ball, but this latest review and recommendations is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Careflight chief executive officer Ian Badham said the review’s recommendations left the door open for the organisation to look for a future role in aeromedical retrieval services in the central west.
“While I do have some concerns that there are some black spots in the state in places like the far south coast, the mid north coast and Riverina, Orange and the central west have come out of this with a good result and are very well placed,” he said.
“This is in comparison to the ad hoc system which has existed to date.”