New health plan provides targeted approach for north-west communities

A comprehensive health plan that establishes a framework for the specific health needs of residents living in regional and rural centres in western Queensland will go a long way towards improving the overall wellbeing of those communities, Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

Senator Macdonald said the Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Regional Plan 2017-2020, which was launched earlier this week by the Western Queensland Primary Health Network, is a great example of collaboration between government and private health care providers.

“This plan, a detailed approach and direction for mental health, suicide prevention and AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) services, is a tremendous step forward for the health and well-being of these communities, many of whom face significant issues due to their remote locations,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Macdonald said research has shown that people living in lower socio-economic areas are 1.4 times more likely to have mental health issues than those living in higher socio-economic areas*.

“I am pleased to see local, state and federal agencies, together with private service providers, work together to deliver a plan that will ensure residents living in these areas have access to the most appropriate healthcare for their needs.”

The Western Queensland region covers communities including Burke Shire, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, McKinlay, Mornington, Mount Isa and Boulia, and stretches the length of the Northern Territory border, from west of the Gulf of Carpentaria, south to the border of South Australia and New South Wales.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016

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