► Improving healthcare in Lingiari
Providing quality health services to places in remote Australia like Lingiari is a top priority for the Gillard Labor Government.
The Government has already proven its commitment to better health and hospitals in Australia, including by increasing Federal funding to hospitals by 50 per cent since being elected including a 65 per cent increase to rural and regional health funding.
Closing the gap in Indigenous health remains an important part of this, with Labor increasing funding for Indigenous health by almost $1.2 billion in its first term, an 87 per cent increase.
As Minister for Indigenous Health and a long time Territorian, Warren Snowdon understands the unique challenges faced by rural and remote communities in ensuring access to good health services, and has been working hard to deliver results for the Territory while in Government.
Bringing more doctors to the bush
Many communities in Lingiari and other rural and remote areas of Australia have struggled to recruit and retain doctors.
That's why the Labor Government has developed the most generous ever package of financial and non-financial assistance and incentives for doctors who choose to work in these areas.
Since the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) began in 2008, over 1000 health professionals including doctors, nurses and specialists have undertaken short term placements in remote communities to address critical health workforce shortages. This forms part of the Government's $191 million package to expand and reform the primary health care system in the Territory.
The Government is investing $134.4 million as part of the Rural Health Workforce Strategy to ensure that 'the more remote you go, the greater the reward' to encourage doctors to work in some of Australia's most isolated communities, and keep them there. Over 2,400 doctors will become eligible for grant payments to relocate and remain in rural and remote areas.
This program promises to bring more doctors to communities in Lingiari, easing the pressure on health services which will be able to provide better care for you and your family.
To provide support for doctors who may want to work in rural and remote Australia and health service providers who may want to employ them, the Federal Government has set up the DoctorConnect website which provides invaluable information and data about working in the bush and the incentives available from the Government to do so.
In addition to this initiative, the Gillard Labor Government is already committed to delivering:
- $27.8 million to support Flinders University in building the Territory's first new medical school, which will include a dedicated network of hospital and community-based medical education facilities to enable an NT medical program to be delivered for the first time. This will mean better access to nurses and doctors for communities all across Lingiari.
- Investment of over $1.2 billion nationally in 1,000 new nurse training places nationally every year and an additional 1,300 GP's trained before 2013
Investing in health infrastructure
Palmerston Super GP Clinic
Lingiari residents who need to travel for medical care to greater Darwin also benefit from the new $10 million GP Super Clinic in Palmerston, which provides the rural community around Darwin with access to a range of primary health services--all free of charge. The GP Super Clinic also helps take the pressure off the Royal Darwin Hospital, meaning better care for those Lingiari residents who require treatment at the RDH.
An Oncology Unit for Darwin
Acknowledging the need for those suffering from cancer to access medical treatment close to home and family, the Labor Government has contributed $19 million towards the construction of the Allan Walker Cancer Care Centre at the Royal Darwin Hospital, with a further $8.8 million being provided for fit out and equipment.
This means that for those Lingiari residents who require it no longer need to travel interstate for radiation treatment. The facility has capacity for two linear accelerator bunkers, a treatment area for patients, and clinic facilities for patient consultation and examination.
Wadeye Health Centre
Recognising the challenges faced by many in the region who need to travel for treatment, the Labor Government has invested $7.6 million in expanding and refurbishing the Wadeye Health Centre. The clinic services the town of Wadeye, the largest Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, and the surrounding areas.
The Centre includes consultation rooms, an emergency room, baby treatment rooms and consulting rooms for visiting specialists, and has been designed with sensitivity to local culture, with dedicated areas for male and female visitors and patients.
Dialysis on the Move
Labor is supporting an innovative program in which treatment for chronic kidney diseases is provided to remote communities from the travelling 'Renal Bus', a specially-equipped heavy vehicle fitted with two dialysis chairs and staffed by trained dialysis nurses.
The Government has invested $380,000 in the 'Dialysis on the Move' vehicle, which will visit at least eight remote communities per year in addition to attending festivals, ceremonies, sports days and large funerals where possible.
The National Health and Hospitals Network
The Gillard Labor Government has an ambitious agenda for health and hospitals reform which will ensure better health services for families in Lingiari.
The National Health and Hospitals Network package of reforms takes the Government's commitment to better health further yet, delivering:
- More doctors and nurses
- More beds
- More services
- Better accountability and flexibility
As part of the reforms, the Government will for the first time take on the role of the primary funder of hospitals, with hospitals being funded nationally and run locally allowing for greater accountability and sensitivity to the needs of the local community.
The package of reforms includes:
- Medicare Locals, independent bodies made up of local healthcare professionals which coordinate and assist in the provision of GP and other primary care
- The National After Hours Access Service, allowing people in Lingiari to get advice from a GP or nurse over the phone 24 hours a day, administered by Medicare Locals
- Local Hospital Networks, ensuring that Territory hospitals are run by local professionals
The National After Hours Access Service will take pressure off emergency departments in hospitals and allow easier access to GP services for people who require it and allow more doctors and nurses in hospitals and clinics around Lingiari, reducing waiting lists and improving service at these facilities.
►For more information on the Government's National Health and Hospitals Network, please visit the YourHealth website.