WIDE BAY HEALTH CARE
WHAT I BELIEVE
There is a major problem with healthcare in the Wide Bay Region. We do not have enough medical practitioners or private and public hospital system in the Wide Bay Region to cope with the current population and certainly not enough with the ever-growing population. In 1996, people in regional QLD lived longer than those in bigger cities. Now, rural people are dying on average five years earlier. Nevertheless, the QLD Government continues to strip medical services away from regional towns. More and more country people are travelling long distances for treatment or missing out on health care all together.
MY ACTION PLAN
1. Develop a comprehensive incentive package to attract nurses and doctors to regional locations. Most rural areas struggle to attract qualified medical staff. Regional Doctors Settlement Package payments should be increased to the market rate. An annual training allowance can be provided to cover both course, travel and locum replacement costs. Housing can be provided where necessary.
2. Increase hospital staffing by adopting the QLD Nurses and Midwives Union recommendation to have one nurse for every four patients in medical and surgical wards; and one nurse for every three patients in emergency departments and children’s wards across all regional hospitals.
3. Establish an independently administered grant fund for regional hospital equipment. Many regional communities are forced to conduct fundraising events and raffles to fund vital hospital equipment such as X-ray machines and CT scanners. The QLD Government should establish a grants program, in which each local board can apply for funding for new or upgraded equipment.
4. Conduct an independent audit of regional public hospital services to determine what basic services are missing from each hospital. The results of this audit should be published and made available for all to see. The QLD government should then develop a five-year plan and target to address these gaps.
5. Develop and expand the mental health service at every QLD regional hospital.
6. Expand the QLD Government’s Patient Transport Service. This service needs to take in all our region.
7. Double travel and accommodation assistance for patients who need to travel more than 100km for medical treatment.