Darling Downs Health has this year provided more patient care than ever before as tabled in its Annual Report in Parliament today.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board Chair Mr Mike Horan AM said, as a health service, we were focussed on providing timely access to safe, innovative and compassionate care to patients and consumers in hospital, aged care and community settings.
"As a result of the hard work of our staff, we have continued to manage our wait lists, make prudent financial decisions, and continue to provide quality care to our communities," Mr Horan said.
"We are continuing to exceed targets for seeing patients on time for specialist outpatient appointments in all categories of clinical urgency.
"This is an important focus as it provides patients with a pathway to receive their specialist treatment,
elective surgery, endoscopy and dental treatments within clinically appropriate timeframes.
"Clinically appropriate wait times for oral health patients have also been met and maintained for the past four years."
Mr Horan said he was delighted to celebrate BreastScreen Queensland Toowoomba Service’s 25-year anniversary in July 2017.
"It was a wonderful milestone of care for rural and regional women through both the Toowoomba and mobile services which have seen more than 370,000 women screened since the service’s inception," he said.
"The Board is very proud that the service delivered screens to 17,588 women this year at the full-time site in Toowoomba, as well as 12 rural communities."
He said improving infrastructure to support healthcare delivery had also been a priority, with several key
projects in progress and the completion of some important new assets.
"We completed the Matron Farr Building at Kingaroy Hospital to provide a first-class oral health training, dental clinic, and community health facility for the South Burnett community.
"Other key infrastructure projects were also delivered including Toowoomba Hospital’s new seventh theatre, central sterilising department and new kitchen. Planning and preliminary works have also progressed at the Kingaroy Hospital.
"Work also started on Warwick Hospital’s new emergency department that will make a significant difference in providing patient care."
Mr Horan said closing the health gap for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities was also a key focus.
"At the end of the year, 84 per cent of our staff had completed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Practice Program as part of their mandatory training.
"We also improved access to telehealth services to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients attending appointments at Toowoomba Hospital."
Mr Horan said the heath service had moved to become more proactive in meeting the healthcare needs of our communities.
"As a health service region, we have some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and kidney disease," he said.
"As our population continues to grow, we can expect a significant increase in the health needs of our residents, which is why we have been working to improve awareness of the importance of exercise
and a balanced diet.
"We are focussed on reducing the need for emergency treatment by empowering the community to take ownership of their healthcare and focus on their lifestyle and wellbeing."
As a health service we continue to deliver a multi-disciplinary approach to providing care for chronic disease.
"One of the key projects supporting the reduction of chronic disease across the region is the award-winning ‘Diabetes Model of Care’ project which focussed on comprehensive planning for patients to self-manage their diabetes in their homes with collaborative support from other key health providers across the region.
"It is projects like this one that enable us to find innovative ways of managing chronic disease by
improving health literacy and access to care."