FAIR GO: Isaac struggling with crippling health shortages.
FAIR GO: Isaac struggling with crippling health shortages.

Isaac wants ‘fair go’ amid crippling health shortage

A REGION that generates millions in coal royalties for state coffers is demanding better health services be made top priority ahead of the October state election.

Isaac Regional Council has called on the State Government to give the region a “fair go” as it grapples with critical shortages of medical, nursing and allied health staff.

During its December meeting, the council moved a motion to advocate to the State Government for adequate service planning for hospitals and allied health services.

The council said these services did not meet demand driven by its “true population”, including non-resident and FIFO workers.

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker said there was a health service demand versus a supply shortfall of about 30 per cent.

“As our region continues to grow, that shortfall has potential to get worse if we don’t act now and be clear about what our region needs from state, federal and industry partners,” Cr Baker said.

Isaac Region Mayor Anne Baker.
Isaac Region Mayor Anne Baker.

“Our region contributes approximately 40 per cent of all of Queensland’s revenue through resources royalties, this is ensuring we get a fair go from our government and industry partners.

“We will be making our position very clear to all involved ahead of the upcoming state budget and elections in October. Investment in our health services must be at the top of their respective election commitments.”

Health Minister Steven Miles’ office was contacted for comment, however it advised he was on holidays.

As part of the motion passed during the December meeting, councillors also adopted the position to advocate to Mackay Hospital and Health Service for more resources for Isaac Regional hospitals.

MHHS chief executive Jo Whitehead said the recruitment and retention of clinical staff in rural communities was a national issue.

Mackay Base Hospital
Mackay Base Hospital

“Mackay HHS already use alternative staffing models and continue to explore different medical models including the staff who are qualified to work as rural generalist doctors, allied health practitioners and general practitioners,” Ms Whitehead said.

Mackay HHS had engaged locum medical officers and agency nursing staff to provide health services for the rural communities where possible in the short term.

“Mackay HHS welcomes the opportunity to continue to work in partnership with industry, universities and colleges to build a future rural workforce,” Ms Whitehead said.

The council also resolved to call on mining giants to fund initiatives to help supplement the provision of medical, nursing and allied health professionals in the region.