Gladstone Health Plan
The Gladstone Health Plan has been developed in consultation with the Gladstone community, and in conjunction with the Health Service Providers. The purpose of the plan is to provide direction for the delivery and development of Primary Healthcare services in the Gladstone Region over the next 10 years.
Central Queensland Rural Health and Health Workforce Queensland provided consultancy services to support the collaborative development of the plan. Further research work to support access to GP services and bulk billing was funded through the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network.
Health Workforce Queensland supported the completion of data collection and analysis specific to the Gladstone region and the development and analysis of the community survey to identify key issues of concern to the broader community.
Qualitative and quantitative data was collected from a variety of sources including local general practices, academic databases, Queensland Health, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the Primary Health Network. A range of stakeholders were engaged in this project including residents, general practitioners and practice staff, allied health clinicians, local and federal government, ambulatory and hospital directors and staff, pharmacists, universities, and community organisations. Findings highlight significant issues across all levels of healthcare in the Gladstone LGA. There are workforce shortages across all health professions in Gladstone including specialist services, general practice, allied health, and mental health. Workforce shortages lead to poor continuity of care and access and affordability barriers for the community.
Gaps in local health workforce are underpinned by a multitude of environmental, social and individual determinants. This includes financial and political factors, negative perceptions of Gladstone as a place to live and work, lack of professional networking, mentorship and development opportunities, insufficient infrastructure, lack of student placement opportunities, and limited support and facilities for health professionals and their families locally. These determinants significantly impact community access resulting in long wait times for appointments, financial barriers, and imposed travel to services outside the region. This is in the context of high needs, with the Gladstone LGA experiencing profound health risk factors and heightened disease prevalence compared to state and national averages. A collaborative multi-intervention approach that is tailored specifically for the Gladstone LGA is recommended to ensure future workforce sustainability and quality access to affordable healthcare.
This includes developing the regional medical pathway to “grow our own” workforce locally, increasing flexible models of employment, enhancing hospital and community infrastructure to support service delivery and health professional lifestyle, advocating for greater financial support for healthcare, maintaining DPA status and supporting overseas-trained GPs to live and work in Gladstone, developing additional supportive primary care roles and fostering multidisciplinary care in general practice, building integration across services with strong leadership, facilitating local professional networks and development opportunities, embedding telehealth into service delivery, and striving for innovative quality improvement in healthcare settings. This calls for action from all levels of government including federal, state and local, along with community organizations, the overarching hospital and health service, general practices, service providers, academic institutions and community members to advocate for change and develop a joint strategy to improve healthcare locally. Together these actions can strive to increase community access to primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services including GPs, allied health, mental health and specialist services.
This project has encouraged collaboration and the building of partnerships between service providers. Ongoing collaboration, integration, strong leadership, and a shared vision across the LGA is imperative to drive actions to enhance healthcare and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Gladstone communities.
Central Queensland Rural Health would like to thank the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network for entrusting us to deliver this project in the Gladstone LGA. This project has been collaboratively developed in consultation with the Gladstone community and local health service providers. Acknowledgements and thanks to the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Gladstone Regional Council, general practitioners and practice managers, allied health clinicians, community organisations, universities and local community members for your contributions.
Special thanks to the members of our Health Plan Steering Committee for your ongoing feedback, guidance, and commitment to this project.
Our work would not have been possible without the support provided by Health Workforce Queensland. Many thanks for your consultancy services and ongoing team support provided during the duration of this project.
Central Queensland Rural Health has met the requirements of the ISO 2001:2015 Quality Management Systems Standards.
BILOELA QLD 4715