Rural Queenslanders’ Health – More than a Numbers Game

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Rural and remote Queenslanders continue to have poorer health outcomes than people living in the capital and regional centres and according to the Rural Doctors Association it’s because Governments tend to ignore key areas of focus.

President of Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, Dr Konrad Kangru says the solution isn’t just about more doctors, nurses and health professionals.

“It is about putting the right doctor, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. It isn’t just about numbers or even dollars,”

He says Rural and remote Queenslanders, and their GPs, are frustrated by increasing bureaucracy in accessing healthcare.

Many have experienced complex referral systems to clinics and barriers to accessing your own GP when admitted to hospital.

“RDAQ seeks better streamlining of credentialing processes, referral procedures and clinical policies across all Hospital and Health Services. That is how to reduce the barriers between private and public sectors.”

“Joined up health care makes sense, it means better outcomes for patients which in the long run reduces costs to taxpayers”.

Dr Kangru says Queensland’s country doctors have a home-grown plan to deliver access to healthcare across the state.

“We call on both sides of politics to go beyond party lines and continue the good work of restoring services in key towns like Roma, Emerald, Beaudesert, Atherton, Kingaroy and Mt Isa”

“Six years and two governments have seen reopening of birthing services in Ingham, Cooktown and Beaudesert along with the expansion of services available in hospitals like Roma, Emerald and Kingaroy.”

“We have come a long way in stabilising doctors retention in the public sector, particularly when you look to towns like Longreach and Emerald. These are achievable gains that all rural and remote Queenslanders deserve.”

Rural doctors are calling for bipartisan support for a rural health servicen guarantee, in particular for remote Indigenous communities.

“RDAQ calls for the engagement of Indigenous communities in properly co- ordinated and resourced primary care services, driven by local needs and local knowledge of each individual community.”

Dr Kangru gives credit to both sides of government in stabilising health policy after the 2012 reforms and for backing initiatives like the Rural Generalist Program.

“That trains doctors to provide generalist medical care with advanced skills in obstetrics, surgery, anaesthetics, mental health and many others.”

“We know that both major parties can continue these reforms if they set the policy direction. The health or rural and remote Queenslanders isn’t a numbers game. The stakes are just too high.”