Mental health tops list of service needs in and around Cairns


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The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) has compiled a list of top five priorities for health authorities in the region, with better access to mental health and addictions services seen as the most urgent need.

A local area needs assessment (LANA) involving analysis of health and population data combined with a series of consultation meetings identified the most significant service gaps.

Better transport for medical appointments, better access to general practitioners, cultural safety for First Nations patients and the availability and capacity of health personnel complete the list.

Interestingly, a new hospital block in Cairns to increase the number of ward beds is not listed.

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CHHHS acting chief executive Dr Jeremy Wellwood said nearly 300 people had given their input at the meetings, while there were more than 940 responses from healthcare providers and the community through online surveys.

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“This important work also guides our resource decisions and our planning of programs or activities that support health needs in the future,” he said.

Construction of a new $70 million, 53-bed mental health unit in Cairns is underway, after a significant delay.

There will now be another round of consultations to share the results, with more comments invited.

“Your perspective, as a health consumer or health care provider in our region, is critical to this LANA process,” Dr. Wellwood said.

“You can give us specific insight to inform our future planning, including emerging treatments, workforce needs, efficiency and effectiveness of current service delivery models and opportunities for improvement, coordination and linkages between services to improve access to care for our community.

“Once we have reviewed our LANA results to ensure that we have accurately reflected local needs, we will provide our results to our staff, community and health providers. “

“They will also continue to inform planning for our future services.”

You can find more information about feedback sessions here.

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