The Blue Mountains Local Government Area (LGA) comprises 27 towns & villages spread along 100km of mountainous terrain.
The Blue Mountains covers an area of 1,431km2 with 70% comprising World Heritage National Park, of which only 11% is available for settlement.
Current population level is 78,391 people.[source: Blue Mountains City Council]
Some key statistics pertaining to the health of the Blue Mountains area include:
- 6.1% of all babies born have low birth weight
- 9.8% of mothers smoke during pregnancy
- The childhood immunisation rate is 90.2%
- 14.6% of people report having fair or poor health
- 11.4% report high or very high psychological distress
- The most prevalent chronic diseases are circulatory (15.2%), respiratory (24.8%) and musculoskeletal system diseases (28%); rates are markedly higher than Metro Sydney.
- 19.5% of people are physically inactive
- 15.3% of men over 15 are overweight and 9.7% of women over 15 are overweight
- Transport difficulties - travelling to and from health care services
- Aged care services - inadequate number residential care beds and costs
- Workforce problems - shortage of GPs
- Access to information - low knowledge of services and where to go to get information
- Carer respite and support - limited resources
- Impact of bushfire on access to health care - in adequate disaster planning
- Access to health services - long distances to travel and long waiting lists
- Renal Dialysis - long, impractical travel to access services
- Increase in holistic care - better support and access for mental health, cancer conditions and the elderly
Based on this feedback, the Interim Joint Health Consumer Committee has made 14 recommendations about steps that should be taken to address the most pressing health priorities for the Blue Mountains area.