Four Corners - Far From Care
Imagine being about to give birth, cocooned in a speeding car on a night-time dash to a hospital that’s still hours away, every bump, every brake to dodge a kangaroo sharpening the pain and discomfort. Or being diagnosed with cancer, and facing months of difficult and lonely treatment in an unfamiliar city far from home, family and friends…
These are real life scenarios for rural Australians who have watched their doctor pack up or their local health service closed and folded into a larger, distant regional hub. Losing the local bank branch or supermarket is an inconvenience; losing a hospital or a doctor is a matter of life and death.
Health services that city people take for granted are either inaccessible to many rural Australians or available only at a huge cost in time, travel and money. If you have cancer and you live in the NSW bush you are 35 per cent more likely than a city person to die within five years – up to 300 per cent more likely if you live in a very remote area.
Four Corners takes the pulse of rural Australia’s health by heading to western NSW. At Cobar, GP Kevin Coleman is quitting after 11 years caring for thousands of people in an area the size of Tasmania. The final blow for obstetrics-trained Coleman was the closure of Cobar hospital’s maternity wing.
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