Community to have their say on North Queensland’s healthcare

Community members, healthcare professionals, politicians, and sector representatives are being encouraged to take a survey and help shape healthcare outcomes and access to vital services in their region.

North Queensland residents can have their say on local healthcare as part of the Joint Regional Needs Assessment (JRNA) online survey.

Information collected through the short survey, which is now open and closes on 14 July 2024, will help to develop North Queensland’s first JRNA, a collaboration between Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), and Torres and Cape, Cairns and Hinterland, Townsville, and Mackay Hospital and Health Services (HHSs).

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney says it is important for the community to have a say on their region’s healthcare.

“People’s experiences matter and information gathered from the survey will help improve access to better healthcare in North Queensland communities,” Mr Rooney said.

“We want to learn more about the health needs that are impacting people living and working in North Queensland and understand where there may be health needs and gaps in services to ultimately improve healthcare resourcing and service delivery.”

The JRNA is a requirement from the Commonwealth and State Governments and is essential for planning better health services and achieving improved outcomes for northern Queensland residents.

“We are proud to partner with all four Hospital and Health Services in North Queensland on this joint health needs assessment, which we know will help North Queenslanders live happier, healthier, longer lives,” Mr Rooney said.

Cairns and Hinterland HHS Chief Executive Leena Singh describes the assessment as a “temperature check” of health services across the region.

“We hold regular consultative forums for our consumers across our region and this type of survey will complement the information we receive from various groups,” she said.

“I would encourage everyone to complete the survey to assist us in understanding the additional health needs our community requires for us to ensure it is captured in our future planning.

“Health affects everyone across the full life spectrum and it is important for us to continually check in with our community to ensure the needs of Far North Queenslanders are met, and that we are incorporating that into any future investment decisions,” Ms Singh said.

Torres and Cape HHS Chief Executive Rex O’Rourke says planning for the future health needs of communities in Cape York, the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), and the Torres Strait was vital.

“Our populations are expanding, and they include a very high percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with significant needs, as well as an increasingly ageing and socio-economically disadvantaged population,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“To improve health outcomes for our communities, we all need to work together to ensure we have the services in place to meet current and emerging needs.”

Townsville HHS Chief Executive Kieran Keyes says community feedback is an essential part of designing future services that meet the needs of North Queenslanders.

“There is no one in a better position to tell us what works and what needs to improve than the communities we serve,” he said.

“I strongly believe healthcare is better, stronger, and safer when we involve our patients, consumers, and community in the design of our services.

“I want to encourage all North Queenslanders to have their say to help us work together to shape the region’s future healthcare services,” Mr Keyes said.

The JRNA will supersede the NQPHN Health Needs Assessment (HNA).

The 10-minute online survey can be taken here.

More information on the JRNA can be found on the NQPHN website at nqphn.com.au/JRNA.

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