The return of renal services to Mount Isa, a new hospital at Julia Creek and the need to attract more indigenous employees were among the highlights of the North West Hospital and Health Service's latest annual report.
The Health Service's Annual Report for 2018-2019 was tabled in Queensland Parliament on Thursday 26 September 2019, with the NWHHS spending $193 million for the year.
Chief Executive Lisa Davies Jones said the repatriation of renal services from Townsville allowing patients to be treated closer to home had helped local families.
"There was limited capacity at the Mount Isa Renal Unit and patients who could not be treated in Mount Isa were sent to Townsville for dialysis treatment, often for long term and separated from families and loved ones," Ms Davies Jones said.
"The Renal Unit has moved to three dialysis session per day, supporting an additional 12 patients to be treated closer to home. Because of this, patients in Townsville are now able to be brought back to Mount Isa as space permits."
Ms Davies Jones also hailed the new Julia Creek Multipurpose Health Service.
"The $8.4 million facility caters for an integrated care model, accommodating primary care, hospital care and aged care all under one roof," she said.
"The hospital features a modern emergency room, outpatient unit, pharmacy, pathology area and staff amenities."
She said the Nurse Navigator trial at Karumba was also successful.
"A twice weekly visit by the Normanton Hospital-based medical officer was not meeting the needs of the Karumba community for several reasons, chief of which were the numerous cancellations of doctor appointments in Karumba due to doctor fatigue or emergencies in Normanton," she said.
"(We) put in place a three-month trial of a Nurse Practitioner at the Karumba Primary Health Clinic to deal with GP-type appointments, along with increased GP visits through CheckUP."
Ms Davies Jones said one of the key objectives for 2019-2020 was to grow the NWHHS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.
"The North West Hospital and Health Service is seeking to grow its Indigenous workforce from 10 per cent to 26 per cent to reflect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population across the region," Ms Davies Jones said.
To that end Christine Mann appointed to the new role of Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in July.
Remote services are also increasing, with 5360 Telehealth services provided, nearly 800 more than the previous year.
The new tri-partite Lower Gulf Strategy between the North West Hospital and Health Service, Gidgee Healing and the Western Queensland Primary Health Network to integrate culturally safe community-controlled primary health care in Doomadgee, Normanton and Mornington Island was recognised as Winner of the Regional, Rural and Remote Category at the 2018 Queensland Health Awards for Excellence.
Cancer Care services at Mount Isa Hospital were increased from Wednesday to Friday to a full weekday service to meet an increase in demand for chemotherapy and non-oncology services.
An additional registered nurse has also been appointed as part of the increase in services.
The annual report is on the NWHHS website at www.health.qld.gov.au/mt_isa/annual-reports.asp
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