Health in Lithgow
The Lithgow Local Government Area (LGA) spans 4,551 sq km and is located 140 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, approximately 2 hours travel by car.
Lithgow lies almost wholly within the Wiradjuri Aboriginal nation, with the Gundungurra nation situated to the south and the Darug nation to the east.
The are is made up of one large urban centre called Lithgow, two townships called Portland and Wallerawang and numerous villages, hamlets and rural localities of varying proximity to Lithgow.
Current population level is 20,161 [source: Lithgow City Council].
Some key statistics pertaining to the health of the Lithgow area include:
- 9.4% of all babies born have low birth weight
- 34.3% of mothers smoke during pregnancy
- The childhood immunisation rate is 91.4%
- 20% of people report having fair or poor health
- 15.1% report high or very high psychological distress
- The most prevalent chronic diseases are circulatory (19.1%), respiratory (29.2%) and musculoskeletal system diseases (32.4%); rates are markedly higher than Metro Sydney.
- 28.5% of people are overweight
- 10.1% of men are smokers
As part of an initiative organised by the Interim Joint Consumer Committee of the Nepean-Blue Mountains Medicare Local (NBMML) and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (the Local Health District), Lithgow residents were asked to have their say on on the health services in the region.
Through this consumer forum process, the main health-related issues were identified as being:
- Transport difficulties - travelling to and from health care services
- Accommodation - when travelling long distances to access health services
- Aged care services - both in-home and residential care
- Knowledge, community expectations and where to go to get information
- Boundaries and accessing health services in other areas
- Workforce problems - shortage of health care providers
- Aboriginal health services - shortage of services
- Mental health services - shortage of services
- Communication - improving communication between health services, health providers and consumers.
Based on this feedback, the Interim Joint Health Consumer Committee has made 16 recommendations about steps that should be taken to address the most pressing health priorities for the Lithgow area.