The annual report of the North West Health and Hospital Service is always worth a read.
The NWHHS's annual budget is $193m which makes it one of the biggest spenders and employers in North West Queensland.
Big milestones included the build of Julia Creek's new $8.4m Multipurpose Health Service, or what we in the old days used to call a "hospital". But the new name reflects the multiple use of the building and caters for an integrated care model, accommodating primary care, hospital care and aged care all under one roof.
The return of the Mount Isa Renal Unit is also greatly news for local patients, especially indigenous ones who suffer disproportionately from kidney complaints.
The old Isa Renal Unit had limited capacity forcing patients to be sent to Townsville for dialysis treatment, often for long term and separated from families and loved ones.
The new Renal Unit has moved to three dialysis session per day, supporting an additional 12 patients to be treated closer to home and the NWHHS gained responsibility for the coordination and management of the renal home therapy service.
The Nurse Practitioner Trial in Karumba has been a good compromise to a difficult local problem.
The twice weekly by a Normanton-based doctor was unsatisfactory and unreliable and the new Nurse Practitioner at the Karumba Primary Health Clinic can now deal with GP-type appointments, along with increased GP visits through CheckUP.
The agreement between the NWHHS, Gidgee Healing and W Qld Primary Health Network aims to provide better care to remote Indigenous communities but the protests last week in Doomadgee show more needs to be done. The NWHHS has a target to increase its Indigenous workforce and the appointment of Christine Mann in the new role of Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health is a big step in the right direction.
The report notes they are still failing to Close the Gap on two key indicators Discharge Against Medical Advice (with 5.5pc of ATSI resident hospitalisations discharging against medical advice) and Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations (almost twice as likely than the general population).