The Bowen Basin Sustainable Resources Local Leadership Group (BBLLG) identified the lack of access to sustainable and appropriate public and private medical and other health services as one of the major issues impacting the communities in the Bowen Basin Region. Currently there are significant medical and allied health workforce shortages in the region. The situation has arisen as a result of an increased demand on health services due to the substantial growth in population associated with resource development projects in the region, compounded by the ongoing difficulties of recruiting and retaining experienced health professional as occurs in rural and regional areas across Australia and Queensland.
In response to the increasing population and health workforce shortages across the Bowen Basin, the Leadership Group commissioned Health Workforce Queensland in conjunction with Kristine Battye Consulting to develop a Regional Health Services Plan for the Bowen Basin, offering tangible strategies and an action plan for the BBLG. The strategies will:
- Promote collaboration and the creative use of resources through private/public partnerships
- Build on existing and emergent opportunities
- Facilitate the development of innovative, realistic and affordable solutions to the issues identified
- Empower communities to prioritise their needs and influence the nature of their health care services into the future.
The project has been informed by, and sought to align with local and state plans, and seeks to identify ways in which health services, both public and private, can be coordinated to enhance existing capacity and obtain maximum benefit to communities.
- Desktop Audit
- Analysis of Relevant Literature
A literature analysis was undertaken to identify and describe:
- The demographics of the Bowen Basin
- The health status of the Bowen Basin population
- Key issues impacting on the delivery of health services across the Bowen Basin
- Planning activities that may impact on health service delivery in the region.
- Survey Tool
An online survey of health and community care providers in the Bowen Basin was undertaken to:
- Map existing health services, workforce and partnerships
- Identify priority health issues
- Identify issues impacting on access to services
- Identify service and system gaps
- Identify opportunities for improvements to service delivery.
- Stakeholder Consultations
There was extensive consultation with key stakeholders that operate at a local and regional level. Key groups consulted included Local Government, Queensland Health – state based and Local Health and Hospital Services, local health professionals, mining industry representatives, non-government organisations, Medicare Locals, Central Qld Division of General Practice and consumers to identify service and system gaps, identify local health priorities and identify opportunities to address service gaps aligned to local priorities.
In addition to the consultations a full-day workshop was held in Emerald with key representatives from the BBLG and industry to develop tangible strategies to promote and support solutions to improve the capacity of, and access to health services in the region.
The final report identified strategies for use by local government, the mining industry and others to inform service plans of Local Health and Hospital Services and Medicare Locals.