Big steps in health with services boosted

IT'S taken almost two years, but Gladstone is starting to enjoy a vastly improved and sustainable health service.

That change hasn't just happened - it's been the result of a number of meetings and workshops which have included health professionals and community leaders.

Spearheaded by the Rio Tinto Community Trust, the Gladstone Health Partnership was created in December 2012 through the community trust's "Here for health" initiative.

Community trust executive officer and Rio Tinto community relations manager Jeremy Hastings said the partnership had achieved many successes - far more than he had expected when the project first started.

"The main change has been the fact that the public and private hospital services are now talking to each other, and they are co-operating with each other when it comes to recruitment and retention of medical professionals," he said.

"The changed relationship between the two organisations has created the environment where major changes have been made."

One of the key successes has been the establishment of a public/private partnership which has seen specialists recruited who work for both the Mater hospital and the general hospital - something that would have seemed impossible early last year.

Are you happy with health services in Gladstone?

This poll ended on 02 October 2014.

Current Results

Yes. We have what you'd expect for a city this size

51%

Mostly, but there is still room for improvement

36%

No, they're not as good as they used to be

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Major steps forward in recent times have been the recruitment of a number of professionals, some of whom are already in Gladstone and others who are due here in the next few weeks.

As well as the new recruits, Gladstone hospital has been accredited for the training of junior doctors, the high dependency unit and operating theatres are undergoing extensive alterations and a permanent executive director of medical services (Dr Nikki Murdock) has been appointed.

Two websites - hereforhealth.com.au and hellogladstone.com.au - have been created to help recruits gain more knowledge about Gladstone.

A formalised health plan has also been developed by the group to determine the region's future needs.

Mr Hastings said it was the community fund's aim to create a long-term solution to the region's health problems that was able to be owned by the health service rather than be propped up by Rio Tinto's ongoing funding.

"We're in the business of mining - not health - and we recognise that, but we also want to be good citizens so that our community benefits in the long term by our actions," he said.

"The next challenge is to get the general practitioners to work with the primary health network to create better outcomes for patients and health service providers."

NEW RECRUITS

  • Two paediatricians
  • Two general surgeons, bringing the total to four who can now operate a sustainable roster.
  • One orthopaedic surgeon
  • One specialist anaesthetist
  • One obstetrician
  • Two senior medical officers with anaesthetic skills
  • One emergency medical physician


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