A primary and preventative care strategy at Mornington Island, Doomadgee and Normanton is delivering promising results, according to North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) chief executive Lisa Davies Jones.
"The strategy is simple in concept. We've established a model of care for each community, that integrates primary health care as the main focus with the hospitals in each community focusing on acute care."
The Lower Gulf Strategy is an agreement between the NWHHS, Gidgee Healing and Western Queensland Primary Health Network established in 2017 to address fragmented primary health care services in the region and the poor health status of the general population.
"Over all three communities there has been a 1300 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal health checks and a marked decrease in patients turning up to the Emergency Departments at the three hospitals," Ms Davies Jones said.
"Overall, they have almost halved, with patients going to Gidgee Healing for minor presentations, which is great because Gidgee has a chance then to assess them and put them on a care plan for ongoing care.
"There has been an increase of between 34 to 54 per cent in diabetes patients registered since September 2018 and between 37 to 42 per cent of people aged 15 to 65 have received sexual health screenings," she said.
The strategy has also seen an increase in Indigenous employment in health in the three communities with 28 positions created and filled by local Indigenous candidates through Gidgee Healing, and across the primary care services approximately 85 per cent of the workforce is Indigenous.
"We are putting a lot of work into health promotion, with mini health expos in these communities, and encouraging people to engage with their primary health providers early on for health checks and just to have that regular health oversight.
"Our aim is to see that the community has early access to primary care and we are achieving this in partnership with Gidgee Healing - wrapping care around people to support their health and wellbeing and to give children the best start in life."