Counselling demand exceeds services



GLADSTONE counselling services aren't meeting demand.

The increase in demand is most starkly highlighted by the number of people assisted or referred to the Gladstone City Council counselling service in February which increased more than seven times since February 2004 from 18 to 138 people.

Community Advisory Service manager Chris Cook said while the 2004 figures had been somewhat distorted by a change of office and annual leave, the problem was worsening.

Ms Cook said families were being forced to wait for four weeks for counselling while others were forced to travel to Rockhampton and Bundaberg.

In a report to the council, Ms Cook said agencies such as the Department of Communities and Corrective Services had become inflexible.

"We're often talking about mothers with young children,'' Ms Cook said.

"Often they are single and don't have a car.

"So you can imagine the problems of trying to pack four children up and getting on a bus to go to Rockhampton or Bundaberg.''

She said blame for the situation did not lie with the Gladstone agencies, but rather the terms of their funding.

"The other health professionals are bound by their funding and their target groups,'' Ms Cook said.

Ms Cook said Gladstone deserved better.

"This city earns a lot of money for Queensland and we're growing so quickly,'' she said.

"At the moment though the funding is not keeping up.



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