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Torres and Cape HHS looks to future after a year of achievements

25 October 2018

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has celebrated a year of achievements and will pursue a range of exciting new health care initiatives over the next 12 months.

The health service’s annual report for 2017–18 was tabled in State Parliament today (24 Oct).

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Board Chair Bob McCarthy said health staff had worked hard to maintain high levels of childhood immunisation.

“They have also worked to reduce elective surgery and specialist outpatient waits, increase telehealth use, increase nephrology outreach support, increase ambulatory mental health service contact and reduce potentially preventable hospitalisations.

“These are major achievements for a rural and remote health service such as ours.’’

Mr McCarthy said the health service also had successfully undergone its first organisation-wide accreditation review since amalgamation in 2014, which underpinned its focus on quality and safety.

“In addition, the two general practices in Bamaga and on Thursday Island achieved Royal Australian College of General Practitioners reaccreditation.

“In August 2017, we achieved another important milestone with the commencement of transition to community control in Aurukun under the Cape York Transition Action Plan.

“Staff from our health service and Apunipima Cape York Health Council now operate from the new Aurukun health precinct and deliver services as an integrated team working across both primary health and acute care.’’

A snapshot of 2017–18 activity includes:

  • 247,450 occasions of service delivered
  • 24,123 emergency department presentations
  • 93 per cent of presentations seen on time.
  • 10,396 oral health consultations
  • 2350 visiting specialist consultations
  • 775 surgical procedures
  • 175 babies born.
  • Health service achieved the highest level of performance in Queensland with 96.5 per cent of Torres and Cape Indigenous women attending five or more antenatal visits.

“But we’re not resting on our laurels, as we have a very impressive list of priorities to tackle over the next 12 months,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

He said major initiatives that would be pursued during 2018–19 included:

  • Progress $85 million of capital works programs including $46 million for the Thursday Island Hospital and Thursday Island Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC); $25.5 million of major upgrades for seven primary health care centres; and $13.2 million in accommodation investments at six sites.
  • $1.9 million to deliver initiatives under the Making Tracks towards closing the gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders by 2033 – Investment Strategy 2015-18.
  • $1.8 million to continue implementation of the North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexually Transmissible Infections Action Plan 2016-2021.
  • $200,000 for the Rural Indigenous Women’s General Practice in the Torres Strait Islands to fund primary healthcare medical services with an emphasis on cervical screening and health promotion to women in rural and remote communities including all 15 islands and Northern Peninsula Area.
  • $2 million for Nurse Navigators to support the Government’s election commitment to rebuild the nursing workforce and improve patient care.
  • $900,000 from the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer to assist in the provision of several initiatives related to upskilling and building capacity for remote registered nurses and registered midwives working within Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.
  • $400,000 Future Funding quality improvement project to reduce ear, nose and throat wait * lists focussing on interventions in children.
  • Continue to invest in renal services, including the Kowanyama renal nurse role and expanding the Thursday Island dialysis service to allow clients to be treated closer to home.
  • A feasibility study will be undertaken to explore nurse supervised dialysis at Bamaga Hospital.
  • Continue to progress the Transition Action Plan with Apunipima Cape York Health Council to transition primary health care services to Aboriginal community control in up to four more communities (Napranum, Coen, Lockhart River and Mapoon) and strengthen collaboration in other communities.
  • $500,000 for master-planning and capital infrastructure studies for Thursday Island, Cooktown, Weipa and Bamaga.
  • The ongoing development of eHealth record for primary and community health care. The solution, RIVeR (Regional Information Via Electronic Record), will replace paper-based records and processes and gather clinical information from multiple sources to create a single patient electronic record.

“During 2018–19, we will also continue working with our government and non-government partners to implement strategies that support our residents to better manage their health and keep them out of hospital in the first place,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

He said staff numbers had increased over the past 12 months to help deliver expanded services.

As at 30 June 2018, the Torres and Cape HHS had a total of 982.94, full-time equivalent (FTE) employees across all classification streams and comprising full, part-time and casual staff.

This was an increase of 73.96 FTE in total staff from 2016–2017.

Mr McCarthy said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff comprised about 17 per cent of total staff numbers in the health service.

“I would like to commend all our staff for their commitment and dedication to our clients and communities over the past 12 months. Without their work, we would not have achieved our many successes,’’ he said.

Mr McCarthy said the health service had ended the financial year with a modest surplus of $800,000.

“This was a major achievement given the challenging financial environment in which all health services operate,’’ he said.

“We look forward in the next year to helping our communities to live healthier and happier lives.’’

Download Torres and Cape HHS 2017-18 annual report

Last updated: 26 October 2018