Photo: Boulia, Jundah and Windorah Primary Health Centres.

Residents in the most remote areas of the Central West will benefit from a State Government
grant allocation of $1.46 million over two years.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the health service
had been successful in its application for funding from the State Government’s $35 million
Integrated Care Innovation Fund (ICIF).

The money will be used to help improve the delivery of comprehensive health services to the
remotest communities in the western sector of the region, including Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia,
Jundah and Windorah.

“We want to look at various options for doing this and the health service will be engaging local
communities extensively over the next few months to get their feedback on what they think
might work best for their areas,’’ Ms Hancock said.

“We are very aware of the importance in this project, as in all Central West Health services, that
our services are designed with local input to make sure they are culturally safe for Indigenous
peoples.’’

Ms Hancock said a project officer with extensive previous experience in the organisation of
primary care services, particularly in the Indigenous field, already had been recruited to oversee
the project.

“We expect to have a plan developed by the end of the year to implement the program and will
start rolling it out soon after that,’’ she said.

“In our planning and development, Central West Health also will be partnering with other key
service providers, such as the Western Queensland PHN, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and local government authorities.

“The combination of improved service delivery coordination, together with the work of locallybased
Remote Area Nurses, clinic visits and increased use of telehealth should be a gamechanger,
especially with broadband coverage becoming increasingly available during 2017.

“By working closely with other groups and coordinating efforts, Central West Health expects to
extract from the various available services the maximum possible health benefits for these
remote communities.

“The project will consider a range of options to redesign the way we deliver primary health in
these communities with a broader role for Remote Area Nurses and Nurse Practitioners as well
as better continuity of GP services to help deliver a more accessible mix of services locally.

“The primary intention will be to create an integrated and high-quality system focussing on the
burden of chronic disease in such remote communities.’’

Ms Hancock said an option also to be considered was the delivery of GP, specialist and allied
health services closer to patients in those remote communities in the form of a one-stop shop.

“This could involve bringing a range of more specialised health professionals into each
community for two or three days at a time, several times a year – in what are called ‘Big Bang’
clinics,’’ she said.

Ms Hancock said if the project was successful, it had the potential to transform the health
profiles and quality of life of a significant proportion of the local population, many of them
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“And if successful, the likelihood that the resulting model of care will be scalable to other remote
centres in Queensland is high,’’ she said.

The Central West project is one of 22 projects funded by the State Government’s $35 million
Integrated Care Innovation Fund across the state.

The aim of the fund is to invest in projects that help integrate health services and achieve
greater efficiency and value from health service delivery.

ENDS