The changing health context
A number of factors will significantly influence the future of healthcare in Queensland and across Australia.
A digital world: transforming our services through technology and innovation
Technology and innovation will radically shape the future of healthcare across Australia by 2030. Rapid developments in genetic research and the emerging field of personalised medicine will enable much greater targeting of clinical intervention for individuals and families. This will have huge impacts on cancer treatments, chronic and environmental disease management, and other areas across medicine.
Transforming how patient information is digitally stored, accessed, shared and used to inform clinical decisions has the potential to radically improve patient safety, outcomes and experience. Telehealth is already transforming the delivery of healthcare and this will continue. Patient and staff expectations are also significantly changing as more services across the private and public sector are accessed online. Queensland Health’s ambitious digital strategic vision to transform services, focusing on digital health, digital disruption and digital security, will support our ambitions to connect healthcare across Central Queensland.
A triple threat: growing demand, ageing population, financial pressures
Health services across Australia face increasing demand fuelled by lifestyle-related illness and improved medical outcomes, an ageing population and significant financial pressures. Our population is forecast to grow more than 20% by 2030, which will significantly increase demand on our services. Our older population (aged over 65) is expected to grow by 68% over the next ten years. As the population of Central Queensland ages so too will the workforce delivering health services.
Financial pressures to reduce the cost of medical services across Australia and Queensland are also present. This combination of increasing demand, more complex health needs, and more challenged financial resources represents a significant triple risk unless we can transform our services over the coming years.
Queensland Health 10 year vision: My Health, Queensland’s Future: Advancing Health 2026
The Queensland Health 10 year vision sets an ambitious plan to transform healthcare and enable Queenslanders to be amongst the healthiest in the world by 2026. This strategy is based on five principles of: Sustainability; Compassion; Inclusion; Excellence; and Empowerment. It sets out four key strategic directions:
- Promoting wellbeing
- Delivering healthcare
- Connecting healthcare
- Pursuing innovation
My Health, Queensland’s Future sets an aspirational vision of making Queenslanders among the healthiest people in the world. Our strategy for Central Queensland is underpinned by this vision for the future of healthcare across our State and supports Queensland Health’s Queensland Central Regional Planning process.
The Department of Health Strategic Intent 2016-20
The Australian Government’s Department of Health Strategic Intent 2016-20 highlights three strategic priorities to deliver its vision: Better health and wellbeing for all Australians, now and for future generations:
- Better health and ageing outcomes and reduced inequality
- Affordable, accessible, efficient, and high quality health and aged care system
- Better sport outcomes
Our strategy for Central Queensland is underpinned by these strategic visions for the future of healthcare across our State and nation.
Beach to bush: our regional and rural health service
At more than 115,000 square kilometres; our region is nearly twice the size of Tasmania and presents significant challenges to our patients, consumers and staff in accessing and delivering hospital and healthcare across a diverse coastal, urban and rural landscape.
Communities rightly expect local care; however, this must be balanced with the delivery of sustainable health services. Our region is also located in the middle of a 1200km gap between bigger specialist centres at the Sunshine Coast and Townsville, leading to challenges and delays in accessing important specialist services.
Our region is a great place to live, work, learn and play, and offers a great quality of life for health workers in every profession. Building on this quality of life and the opportunity to build a career, will be an important part of our recruitment and retention success as we develop our workforce over the next decade.