PHN health service ‘won’t skip a beat’
AFTER the closure of Wide Bay Medicare Local last week, PHN Country to Coast has taken its place aiming to offer a health service to the community.
Chief executive officer Patti Hudson said the Country to Coast service would take in an area including central Queensland, Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast.
"The population we will look after will be about 840,000, so as big as north Brisbane," Mrs Hudson said.
"The 11 Medicare Locals has been taken down to seven PHNs across Queensland and from opened offices at Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Gympie on July 1.
"We are in the early stages and hope to take the employee level to 25 - after we asked for expressions of interest from Medicare Local.
"There will be no interruptions to service delivery from Medicare Local."
The service is an independent not -for-profit organisation funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health to improve the health outcomes of the region.
"We aim to get community involvement in the health planning for the area and by not going over the top while working with hospitals and health service providers in each specific area," Mrs Hudson said.
She said the plan was to work across the public and private sectors giving accessibility and equality to all for primary health care.
"It's also about value for money to improve the health system of the whole community," she said.
For example, she said, there may be a doctor needing to build their business to remain in the community - and PHN would help give access to them.
Mrs Hudson said PHN would also support GPs to keep people out of hospitals and save money by doing so.
"Health is everyone's business and we encourage regular visits to the GP, lifestyle changes and keeping up with immunisations just mention a few," she said.
She said PHN would look in to All Primary HealthCare services (excluding dental) and help give the community the best access.
The government has funded the organisation for three years and Mrs Hudson said it would prove there was a need for it.
"It's about keeping the community healthier," she said.
"We have a small budget but a big impact."
"And we will take this opportunity to get where healthcare should be."