The Central West Hospital and Health Service will undertake a number of major new initiatives
over the next 12 months, following some significant achievements during 2015–16.

Central West Health’s 2015–16 annual report was tabled in State Parliament today (30 Sept.).

Board Chair Jane Williams said the health service had continued to build services and expand
activity during 2015–16.

“Our overall level of clinical activity increased by 6 per cent on 2014–15 – resulting in more
services for more people – with even higher increases in some specialised areas,’’ she said.

“For instance, our telehealth services grew by 74 per cent during 2015–16, thereby significantly
reducing the travel burden for patients for specialist access in the bush.

“As a result, an estimated 2376 residents avoided the need to travel to see a specialist.

“For our rural residents, telehealth is truly a game-changer, allowing us to deliver more services
more broadly and reducing the need for people to have to travel long distances from home for
routine clinical appointments.’’

Other achievements during 2015–16 included:

• Commissioned the new $17.5 million health and emergency services precinct at Alpha,
with the Alpha Community Hospital delivering services from 7 June.

• 97 per cent of all emergency department presentations departed within four hours of their
arrival.

• Improved access to surgical and procedural services in the Central West. This has
allowed more patients to receive surgical and diagnostic services at Longreach Hospital
without the need to travel to Brisbane or a larger regional centre like Rockhampton.

• Improved access to general practice services.

• Expanded dental services throughout the region and maintained our record of zero longwaits
for dental care for the third consecutive year.

• Maintained amongst the highest child vaccination rates in the entire state, with 99 per
cent of one-year-olds and 98 per cent of five-year-olds being vaccinated.

• Appointment of a Regional Adversity Coordinator to help deliver coordinated drought and
disaster support mental health services and community mental health resilience building
initiatives.

• Longreach Hospital’s emergency department achieved the second highest satisfaction
rate of any public hospital emergency department in the state in the Queensland
Emergency Department Patient Experience Survey conducted in late 2015. Longreach’s
overall satisfaction rate was 93 per cent, compared with a state-wide average of 85 per
cent.

“These are significant achievements for any health service let alone a small, rural health service
such as ours,’’ Ms Williams said.

“We are delivering a steadily expanding range of services to more people, closer to where they
live.

“But we’re not resting on our laurels.

“We have a number of major initiatives we are pursuing over the next 12 months that will make
real differences to the quality of care for Central West residents.’’

Ms Williams said these included:

• $10 million will continue to be invested in priority capital works projects to enhance
remote area infrastructure, including installation of a CT scanner at Longreach,
development of a new dental clinic in Barcaldine and upgrading water pressure at
Blackall Hospital.

• $2.2 million to continue construction of the $3.5 million purpose-built primary healthcare
centre in Aramac to replace the 100-year-old former Aramac hospital. The overall project
cost will include remediation of the old hospital site.

• $2 million will be invested to refurbish Boulia Primary Healthcare Centre.

• $1.1 million is being invested to establish a slow-stream rehabilitation service in
Longreach to allow patients to complete their recovery and rehabilitation locally and
reduce pressure in regional hospitals.

• $750,000 will be invested to establish five Nurse Navigator roles to coordinate care for
patients frequently presenting to hospital with chronic and complex conditions.
Ms Williams said she looked forward during the coming year to building on the achievements of
last year.

“What we have achieved so far is entirely due to the dedicated efforts of all our staff – clinical
and non-clinical – and I’d like to offer my thanks,’’ she said.

“I’d also like to thank my board – including former chair Ed Warren who helped build the service
into what it is today – and my executive management team for their commitment and effort.
“Without everyone working together, we would achieve nothing.’’

Ms Williams said the health service would continue working with other health service providers
and partners to build coordinated, comprehensive and effective services throughout the region.
“The end result will be a healthier and happier community,’’ she said.

The health service ended the 2015-16 financial year with a slight deficit of $117,000.

Ms Williams said this was about 0.17 per cent of an overall budget of $66.9 million and would
be made up during the coming year.

“This is an excellent result for a small health service such as ours facing the challenges of
remoteness and isolation that we do,’’ she said.

• The Central West Hospital and Health Service 2015–16 annual report can be found at:
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/tabled-papers/online-tabled-papers

Direct Link: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/TabledPapers/2016/5516T1684.pdf