Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams and a local action group are making sure that Tamworth is at the front of the line when the Federal Government begins placing specialist Parkinson’s Disease nurses.
The Tamworth Neurological Nurse Action Group have spent over eight years campaigning for a specialist position in the region, and found a strong ally in the Inverell based Nationals’ senator following a Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2017.
Late last year the action group finally got a glimmer of hope following the federal government announcing a $5.8 million fund for a neurological nurse pilot program focussed on Parkinson’s.
Last week they cheered again after another $1 million was added to that extended program, as well as another $30 million for research, with the nurses to be installed for a minimum four years.
Action group president Trish Betts praised Mr Williams for having the pilot program changed to a full program, and said while it is an exciting step forward the group need to continue “jumping up and down to make it happen.”
“Senator Williams kicked up a stink about the meagre amount of money, and the fact that it was a pilot program,” Mrs Betts said.
“Research is great for down the track, but at the moment we need nurses on the ground to support a growing amount of people in need.”
Senator Williams said there was no need for a pilot program because the program has already proved to be successful in Western Australia and Tasmania, and is also expecting to here more good news in the near future.
“We’ve been shaking them for a few years and we have finally got there,” Mr Williams said.
“I will now be asking questions in the senate estimates to enquire about exactly where these nurses will be, and what has to be done to get one in Tamworth because it is the ideal location to service a large area of the state.
“I have been talking to John Barilaro about it as well, and am hoping to hear an announcement from the state soon – hoping for a win there too.”