Editorial: we need continuity in health care

THE decision to award the new Primary Health Network to the Sunshine Coast Medicare Local is devastating to our region and for my money, the wrong one.

Although not all of the Medicare Locals were successful, no one doubted CQ Medicare Local was.

The Central Queensland region statistics rate highly among the worst for many health risks - obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes - yet they were making serious headway.

CQML employed around 90 staff; 80% were clinicians. SCML employed around 35 staff, mostly in administration.

The CQML region is a vast, regional and rural area covering 114,000 sq km and 225,000 people.

The new CQSCPHN will be expected to cover 161,000 sq km and 835,000 people.

Before the election, the LNP said they would review the model.

Review by all means, but no one can tell me this new model will improve outcomes, especially for the outlying areas.

I recall Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig lamenting the way new governments will rebrand existing programs for political purposes.

He said it takes around 18 months for rebranding, new staff and systems to take effect, losing valuable time in the meantime.

The clients of CQML don't have 18 months.

These people are among our most vulnerable and they had a system that was working.

If we are to genuinely address the mental health, indigenous health, aged care and other services the new PHN model says are priorities, we need continuity.



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