If you read my blog frequently, you’ll know that I’m from regional Australia, where we have to deal with some pretty harsh conditions. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining all the time, but something that really grinds my gears at the moment is regional healthcare in isolated parts of Australia.
This post comes at a time when I’m about to commence an internship with the Rural Press Club (RPC) and in early June, a number of professionals are coming to speak to the RPC about healthcare in regional Queensland. These professionals include Dr Sue Masel who is a GP in the country town of Goondiwindi and is also the medical superintendent and president of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, Professor Murray Richard who is president of the Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine and head of school of Rural Medicine at James Cook University. And finally, the Hon Lawrence Springborg MP, Queensland’s Minister for Health will all be in attendance and the purpose of the meeting is to discuss some of the medical issues facing rural Australia.
I’m looking forward to the breakfast, and will be interested to see the sorts of things discussed. I’ll be writing a press release (probably will be released at beleamos.wordpress.com in the coming weeks) which will highlight the key issues discussed.
But before I go to the breakfast, I thought I would do a little bit more research around rural and regional healthcare and share my thoughts here. And with the Queensland Government’s Blueprint for better healthcare in Queensland, this topic is relevant to many taxpayers.
The Queensland Government is now contributing a further $3.7 million over the next three years to improve the healthcare system across the Widebay region. And would you believe that some people living in regional Queensland could have been placed on a nine year waiting list to see a dentist? The Newman government has banned this, with a maximum waiting time of 17 months. Still, if my tooth was aching, I don’t think I could wait 17 months to get it looked at.
With the Federal Budget announced last week (yet another mention, sorry!) the introduction of a $7 fee to visit a doctor isn’t something city-dwellers should be complaining about. In my opinion, $7 should not be hard to find (and I’m a uni student). If paying a small fee to visit a GP is that much of an ask for some people, try living in a place where access to doctors and surgery is limited, and the waiting list to see a specialist is beyond a joke. Some people are overreacting to the small fee, but when put in perspective, $7 is a small price to pay for medical treatment without having to drive 7 hours to get it.
I will leave you with this advertisement for Angel Flight that the above images are from. It’s a powerful message that highlights the difficulties rural and regional people often face with living where they do.