West Moreton Health has released the summary of a key report and a planning strategy that will guide the delivery of health services in the region over the next decade and beyond.
West Moreton Health Interim Chief Executive Hannah Bloch said a population the size of Beaudesert was moving to the West Moreton region each year and anticipating their health needs was a major priority for the health service.
“We know we have a challenge ahead of us, but we have done our research and identified the key health and service needs for the region,” she said.
“Our first ever Local Area Needs Assessment has identified the health inequities and gaps in healthcare delivery that exist in our region.
“This work will help us to determine the mix of services, equipment, staff, technology, facilities and locations we need to achieve our vision of a thriving community.”
The assessment has been embedded into West Moreton Health’s planning framework and will also help the Department of Health determine system-wide priorities for vulnerable populations. It results from a key recommendation in the Government’s Unleashing the Potential report.
West Moreton Health Board Chair Michael Willis said the needs assessment also informed the latest update of the health service’s Strategic Plan, in which preventative health, workforce, health equity, technology and research were major focuses.
“As we emerge from a time of intense focus on dealing with the immediate challenge of this pandemic, it is important that we lift our sights and focus on the future health needs of our community, and how we best respond to them,” Mr Willis said.
“These two documents are the fruits of that work. Our Strategic Plan builds on our Local Area Needs Assessment and gives us a clear focus for our work over the coming years. It has also been built on the great contributions of our community, our health consumers, our clinicians and non-clinical staff.
“We aim to keep our community out of our hospitals wherever possible. That means partnering with other local agencies in health prevention, to keep people well. And it means having people cared for closer to home where clinically appropriate.
“As a public health organisation, we aim to focus our work for communities who face particular disadvantages. That includes our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the 60 per cent of Queensland’s prison population for whom we provide primary healthcare, and our other vulnerable communities.”
West Moreton Health and the wider region face many challenges, including:
- the fastest growing population in Queensland
- a steep hike in demand for health services
- First Nations communities who are continuing to live with an unacceptable gap in life expectancy compared with the rest of the community
- greater rates of socio-economic disadvantage than the Queensland average, which equates to higher levels of chronic disease
- and a historic legacy which means a third of the West Moreton community have to go outside the region to receive public health care.
“We are also working to strengthen our partnerships in the community to advocate for the right health services in the right place at the right point in time,” Mr Willis said.
“Our focus is on providing safe, quality care, listening to our patients and addressing their needs.
“It requires us to continually improve what we do, using emerging technology wisely, lifting our clinical capabilities, and providing the right resources and infrastructure, for our team to do this work.
“Our Cardiac Catheter Lab, which opened just this week, is a great example of us lifting our clinical capabilities and delivering care closer to people’s homes.
“Our capital works program, which has as its centrepiece a $710 million investment by the Queensland to create 200 new beds at Ipswich Hospital, also helps us do that.
“Lastly, our strategy is all about people; making sure we have the best and brightest, and most committed team of people, with the clinical capabilities to really care for this community.”