Over 100 red and white themed walkers took to road for the walk organised by HEAL (Hospital Equity & Access Lobby) to highlight the distance that Mountains residents are routinely required to travel for basic primary healthcare services.
Walkers were joined by the NSW Opposition Health Spokesperson Jillian Skinner, the Member for the Blue Mountains Phil Koperberg and several local Councillors.
HEAL spokesperson and Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Janet Mays described the separate announcements made to walkers by Mrs Skinner and Mr Koperberg as significant and a potential major victory for the Blue Mountains community.
“Rural reclassification enables the paying of higher entitlements to clinicians. This would be a great step forward in our ability to attract doctors to our community” she said.
Walkers withstood hot temperatures as they made their way down to Nepean hospital over the 2 day weekend period.
“We were enthusiastically embraced by motorists along the way who honked their support for our cause” said Ms Mays.
“Throughout the route people stopped to ask us questions and to lend their support to our cause. The Northern Road in Penrith was particularly noisy with drivers showing their support because they recognise that Penrith residents are impacted by an additional 76,000 people being channelled into their local hospital”.
Eight tired and exhausted walkers and supporters reached Nepean Hospital at 3.00pm on Sunday and were met by Executives from the Sydney West Area Health Service.
HEAL presented a letter to the Minister for Health requesting that BMDAMH be reclassified as a rural hospital and that the 8 beds in the Rehabilitation unit at BMDAMH be re-opened.
“It truly is a bl**dy long way to Nepean Hospital said Clr Janet Mays at the completion of the 53km walk. It’s simply too far to travel for healthcare services by car and a very long way on foot!” she concluded.