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NSW Opposition leader, Chris Minns, and Dominic Perrottet. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tim Pascoe.

What NSW’s major parties have promised for healthcare

NSW's two major parties have committed to employing more healthcare staff, upgrading hospitals and allocating funding towards women's health, with less than a week out of the election.

On March 25, millions of East-coast Australians are anticipated to take to the polls and vote on who should lead the state.

The NSW Coalition promised to employ 10,000 extra healthcare workers within four years if re-elected this year.

Labor leader Chris Minns said it would introduce 'minimum and enforceable safe staffing levels to public hospitals' and hire 1,200 additional nurses and midwives over four years.

"We're gonna focus on people — you can't run public services without people," Minns said during his final election speech last Sunday.

"There's no replacing a nurse who's got the skills to understand what's in their emergency department, and that's been absolutely neglected by the government.

"Unless we start dealing with the people skills crisis, particularly in essential services, we won't turn around our ­hospitals and schools."

The Perrottet government will commit $1.2bn to build and upgrade 20 NSW hospitals, including Concord, Cowra, Rouse Hill, Tweed and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Of the $1.2bn, the Coalition earmarked $260m to expand critical care services at Concord Hospital and $102m for Scott Memorial Hospital.

In late February, the state premier and Liberal leader, Dominic Perrottet, visited St George Hospital, currently in the third stage of its $740m redevelopment plan.

"The investment will help future-proof our health system and ensure our communities continue to have access to world-class healthcare," Perrottet said during a press release on the construction site.

"These critical investments in health infrastructure are only possible thanks to the Liberal and Nationals' long-term economic plan to keep our state moving forward."

The Opposition promised to install 600 additional beds across Western Sydney's hospitals, including a $700m injection into Rouse Hill Hospital to supply 300 beds.

Canterbury, Fairfield, Mount Druitt and Blacktown Hospitals are also scheduled for an upgrade, and the new Eurobodalla Hospital will be opened at Level 4 capacity.

On Sunday, Minns reiterated it would abolish the public sector wage cap, calling it a 'failed ideological tool' that hindered the retention of key workers.

Labor said it hoped removing the wage cap would lead to a pay rise of 3 per cent for essential workers, including nurses and midwives.

"We need to do it because 6,500 nurses have quit in the last 12 months, 2,500 constables have left the police force in the last four years, and there are 3,000 teacher vacancies in NSW schools," Minns said last week.

To improve rural and remote NSW healthcare services, Minns pledged to set aside $70m for three helicopter ambulance bases.

Labor also plans to recruit 500 additional paramedics to the rural healthcare workforce.

The Perrottet government vowed to enforce free parking at all of NSW's regional and remote hospitals.

As for women's health, the Coalition said NSW would be on track to becoming the first state in Australia where women can renew prescriptions for the contraceptive pill at their local pharmacist.

Perrottet said it would be easier and cheaper for women to visit a pharmacist about UTI treatments. The program is to run for a 12-month trial period.

"This is about making it easier and quicker for people, particularly women, to access important prescription medications and treatments," Perrottet said.

"It's harder than ever to get into a GP, and that's why these changes will make a real difference to people who need to access a range of prescriptions and treatments."

The Coalition will set aside a $52.6m package for female health, including $16.3m to fund endometriosis centres and $7m for gynaecological cancer research.

The package will also contain $2m to provide more support for women and families experiencing miscarriage and stillbirth.

The Perrottet government furthermore committed to expanding fertility treatment places by 14,000.

Under the state Labor's plan, Minns pledged it would boost women's health centres by injecting a $100m funding deal.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer will also receive access to a free-of-charge cancer nurse.

The NSW elections will kick off this Saturday, March 25, 2023.

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