Councillor launches petition for better healthcare services
GLADSTONE Region Councillor Kahn Goodluck is expected to launch a petition to the state government this week to call for better hospital health services in the region.
Cr Goodluck worries the hospital's service level could not cope with a population increase, with residents already forced to travel to other hospitals for some services.
Under the Clinical Services Capability Framework Gladstone Hospital offers a range of low to moderate complex inpatient and ambulatory care services, or level 2 and 3 service with some level 4 services.
This means patients may have to travel to Rockhampton or Brisbane hospital to receive moderate to high complex care.
"Even just maternity, the amount of people I have spoken to that have had to be sent to Rockhampton or Brisbane just to have their children,” Cr Goodluck said.
"They struggle to understand why they should travel those distances to have their children.”
Cr Goodluck said the petition was about future-proofing the hospital for the growing population.
"No one expects we'll have access to neurosurgeons and specialist cardiac care in Gladstone, there will always be some things people will have to travel to get those specialist needs,” he said.
"But certainly as a population of 65,000 in regional Queensland, and one that's growing, we need to make sure we're planning for that.”
The move follows the medical reclassification of Gladstone meaning general practices must hire Australian doctors who have passed their Australian GP exam or doctors who have worked in Australia for 10 years.
Cr Goodluck was concerned this would lead to more people going to the emergency room for non-urgent health issues.
"Every person who can't get access to a GP, the first place they're going to go to is the hospital,” Cr Goodluck said.
"We already have people who struggle to get doctors appointments and bulk billing doctors appointments.
"A lot of practices have closed off their practices to new patients.”
A Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said since 2014 the hospital had transformed from GP-led clinical services to Clinical Director-led services - a model consistent with Level 4 services.
The hospital has clinical directors in general medicine; surgery; anaesthetics; paediatrics; emergency; and obstetrics and gynaecology with plans to for other Level 4 services to be introduced.
"If there is not sufficient demand for a particular service our clinicians have difficulty retaining their currency of practice, and it can also be very difficult to recruit specialised clinicians if their skills and training are not being fully utilised,” they said.
"CQ Health's strategic vision Destination 2030: Great Care for Central Queenslanders sets the target of developing Gladstone as a comprehensive general hospital by 2030.”