Dr Mason Stevenson, president of AMA Queensland, says Queensland Health is not out of the woods yet when it comes to providing services for regional Queenslanders.
Dr Mason Stevenson, president of AMA Queensland, says Queensland Health is not out of the woods yet when it comes to providing services for regional Queenslanders. CHRIS ISON CI

CQ health base has a way to go

ROCKHAMPTON has a long way to go before it’s out of the woods with a top-notch health system, a prominent doctor said yesterday.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Mason Stevenson said local doctors had given the region a poor bill of health.

AMAQ research into healthcare delivery and service in the Rockhampton region has revealed a raft of problems facing medical practitioners.

Dr Stevenson said a survey of doctors showed red tape, inability to retain and recruit staff and a lack of resources were dramatically affecting medical practitioners right across the region.

“We asked our members for a warts-and-all opinion on the region’s health services and the results are not pretty,” Dr Stevenson said.

“The top issues identified by doctors in Rockhampton include insufficient public hospital bed numbers and outpatient facilities, not enough GPs and poor infrastructure planning.”

The most recent figures show there is one GP for every 1083 people in the Capricornia area compared with one GP per 811 people in Brisbane.

“We have a serious issue here, if we can’t get more quality health staff in the regions then the gap between the country and the city will continue to grow,” he said.

Dr Stevenson said one of the big challenges was attracting medical graduates to the

region. He doesn’t believe the $150 million hospital redevelopment will be enough.

However, Central Queensland Health Service District’s chief executive Dr Coralee Barker said there was a real buzz in the district, particularly in Rockhampton Hospital, with the redevelopment and new services already offered.

“Our state-of-the-art new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) service has been in use since August and there are plenty more improvements planned or under construction,” she said. “Some of the works under way include a new and improved emergency department, upgraded maternity and pediatrics units, a new renal unit and a new general ward.”

Beds at Rockhampton Hospital were to increase by 69.

These improvements were also helping recruit clinicians.

Dr Barker said 51 medical graduates had applied for 20 intern positions at Rockhampton Hospital next year and several senior staff would also take up key appointments.



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