An innovative agreement to deliver medical services at Cunnamulla was launched formally at a function in the town last week.
The agreement has been signed by the Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health (CACH) and two Hospital and Health Services, namely South West Hospital and Health Service (SWHHS) and Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service (DDHHS)
Under the terms of the agreement, the Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health (CACH), the Cunnamulla Medical Centre and the Cunnamulla Hospital will share doctors.
They will do this through the newly established Cunnamulla Primary Health Care Centre (CPHCC), which will provide seamless medical and general practice services across CACH and South West Hospital and Health Service. The new medical model at the Cunnamulla Primary Health Care Centre will be supported during the transition period by the expertise provided by Queensland Country Practice (QCP), which is a unit of the Darling Downs HHS.
Queensland Country Practice, as the facilitators of the transition, will work with the South West HHS and CACH to integrate the medical service and improve access to general practice services and co-ordinated chronic disease management in Cunnamulla
Speaking at the launch on 3 August, CACH Board Chair Julie Fox said the agreement was a huge step forward and would provide significant benefits to the health of Cunnamulla residents.
South West HHS Board Chair Lindsay Godfrey said the health service was dedicated first and foremost to patients, at all times, and this Cunnamulla agreement was designed specifically to improve health outcomes for the Cunnamulla community.
“A lot of the health problems in Cunnamulla are preventable and this agreement is about improving primary health care and addressing complex health issues’’ he said.
“We will achieve better health outcomes by providing continuity of care between Cunnamulla Medical Centre, CACH and the local hospital and with an integrated service with no duplication.
“We also hope this new model will provide consistency of medical staff by attracting doctors who want to live and work in Cunnamulla on a long-term basis.’’
Queensland Country Practice Clinical Director Dr Dilip Dhupelia said the Cunnamulla agreement was a major step towards achieving the dream of better health outcomes for everyone in the community.
“With the new agreement in place achieving better health outcomes is now very much achievable,’’ he said.
“We are very excited to be involved right from the beginning of the new model and the Service and Workforce Design team of QCP consisting of Rebecca Dunn, Madeline Stewart, Semone Austen and I would like to thank you all for having us be part of your community.
“I would also like to acknowledge the foresight and commitment of the South West and Darling Downs HHS Boards and the CACH Board for supporting this vision to improve medical services and health care in rural and regional communities.’’
CACH Chief Executive Officer Kerry Crumblin said watching the health of community members deteriorate motivated her to collaborate with the South West HHS and QCP to deliver a new model of medical care.
“I am tired of watching our old people get sick and not get better, of watching our young people get sick when they should be fit and healthy,’’ she said.
“I am driven to improve health outcomes in our town and I would like to ask everybody to make our doctors feel welcome.’’
The formal launch was concluded with a morning tea and the cutting of a giant cake that declared: “Welcome to the Cunnamulla Primary Health Care Centre. We did it – in unity we walk as one’’.