WANTING ANSWERS: Hayley and Josh O Donohue with daughters Zoey, 2, and Lily, 4 months, want to know why health support services are leaving Gladstone and not being replaced.
WANTING ANSWERS: Hayley and Josh O Donohue with daughters Zoey, 2, and Lily, 4 months, want to know why health support services are leaving Gladstone and not being replaced. Luka Kauzlaric

Health services decline forces family to travel twice a week

THE road to Rockhampton is well worn for Tannum Sands couple Josh and Hayley O'Donohue who travel there with their young child twice a week to access disability services no longer available in Gladstone.

Their two-year-old daughter Zoey suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy and regular visits to the physiotherapist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist are necessary for her development.

The family said they originally had access to these services in Gladstone, but over time that treatment had gone and didn't look as if it were being replaced.

"I know that when Zoey was first diagnosed, they had a speech therapists and occupational therapists, but then, once all of Zoey's funding got approved, it all got axed," Mrs O'Donohue said.

"So all the services that Zoey is entwined with are now through Rockhampton."

Mr O'Donohue said they were lucky enough to be in a position where they could go to Rockhampton so frequently, but he said others in the community were less fortunate and this was where people had to be supported both financially and emotionally.

I understand there will always be a turnover throughout these roles, but who is accountable to ensuring the positions aren't left vacant?

Last month, the father-of-two wrote to Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham asking where all the services had gone and who was responsible for ensuring that Gladstone had adequate access to disability services.

"The frustrating thing is the fact that we're not asking for something extra, we're just asking why what we had isn't being maintained," he said.

"I understand there will always be a turnover throughout these roles, but who is accountable to ensuring the positions aren't left vacant?"

Having lived in Gladstone all of his life, Mr O'Donohue said it was a shame that they had to consider moving in order to get better access to services.

"You have to move to where the services are and realistically the turnover rate in Rockhampton is still quite high," he said.

"You want that continuity in a therapist who knows the case personally.

"With the kids, they form a relationship with them, they're excited to see them and they want to be active and involved in that therapy."

MP Liz Cunningham said they were working hard to get services back to Gladstone.

"Some of these services should still be here," she said.

"The information that I was getting was that some of these services were still available.

"I will do as much as I can to make sure he gets as much local provision as possible.

"I'm 100% behind getting these services to Gladstone," she said. "That is what we're working on, but progress is slow."

The MP said she would contact Mr O'Donohue after parliament next week.



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