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Increased budget to support new health services

21 June 2019

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service’s recently announced 2019–20 budget will deliver a range of new services and continue work on a multi-million-dollar infrastructure program.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Board Chair Ella Kris said she welcomed the health service’s
$225.4 million annual budget – an increase of $11.7 million on 2018–19.

“I’d like to thank Health Minister Steven Miles and the State Government for the increase, which is more than four times the current inflation rate, and a recognition of the unique challenges in delivering services to a diverse region with numerous small and remote communities,’’ she said.

“As well as continuing our diverse and extensive range of services across Cape York, the Northern Peninsula Area and the Torres Strait, our new budget also will support some additional services.

“For instance, we have been given a $1.1 million funding allocation from the state-wide Advancing Kidney Care 2026 Plan for the establishment of our Western Cape Chronic Kidney Disease Service.

“This new program will deliver an outreach service to patients in the region suffering from chronic kidney disease.

“The service also will provide ongoing preventative care and education to support local primary healthcare teams to manage clients with chronic kidney disease locally and reduce the number progressing to full dialysis.

“This expansion in renal services is in line with the health service’s decision last year to create a new, dedicated Renal Service to oversee current and future services throughout our region.

“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders are four times more likely to die from chronic kidney disease than non-Indigenous Queenslanders, so, it’s important that we have extra capacity to deliver services, including education and prevention, right here in the Torres and Cape HHS region.

“In addition, we have also began planning for the return of a birthing service to Weipa.

“And we are investing $278,964 into the establishment of a cardiac outreach service from 1 July, that will be delivered to smaller Cape York, Northern Peninsula Area and Torres Strait communities from the hub sites of Weipa, Cooktown and Thursday Island.

“These are all new services, in addition to our existing wide-ranging services, which we will continue to grow and expand as required.’’

Ms Kris said the 2019–20 budget also would support progress on a range of major capital infrastructure works throughout the region.

“We currently have a package of more than $85 million worth of capital projects within our health service that have either been recently completed, are under way, or are in the planning stages,’’ she said.

These include:

  • $46 million – redevelopment of Thursday Island Hospital and Primary Health Centre (Planning and design under way.)
  • Multi-million-dollar refurbishment of primary health care centres on Poruma (Coconut), Dauan, Ugar (Stephen) and Masig (Yorke) Islands, along with the St Paul’s Community PHCC on Moa Island. (Evaluation of tender submissions currently under way)
  • $7 million – new Mer Island Primary Health Care Centre. (Planning and design under way. Also undergoing land and tenure approvals.)
  • $7.1 million Aurukun Primary Health Care Centre redevelopment. (Completed October 2018.)
  • $3.4 million upgrade of staff accommodation at the Kowanyama Primary Health Care Centre. (Completed March 2019.)
  • $3.3 million – new staff accommodation at Bamaga Hospital. (Undergoing land and tenure approvals.)
  • $1 million – electrical upgrades at 14 health facilities across the Torres and Cape region. (Completed late 2018.)
  • $870,000 towards progression of master planning and business case for a new Cooktown Hospital.

Ms Kris said the Torres and Cape HHS was committed to delivering the highest quality services as close as possible to home for all residents of the Torres Strait, Cape York and the Northern Peninsula Area.

“This is what I will be working towards during my term as chairperson,’’ she said.

Last updated: 24 July 2019