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Allied Health Pay Dispute May Extend Hospital Waiting Times By Weeks
2nd December 2010: A state-wide strike by allied health professionals yesterday may result in extended waiting times for elective surgery and other health procedures according to the Qld Public Sector Union and the LHMU.

Many of the union's members walked off the job yesterday to protest the State Government's offer of a 7.5% pay rise over the next three years. They say this is not only below inflation, but also only half the 5% per annum pay rise that Queensland's politicians awarded themselves.

The unions claim that 70% of appointments, admissions and procedures were affected by yesterday's strike. But Queensland Health director general Mick Reid has disputed this, saying there'd been a minimal impact on hospital admissions and elective surgeries and that the claims of 8000 workers walking off the job were wrong.

Pickets were held outside Hervey Bay Hospital and Health Minister Paul Lucas' electorate office in Brisbane. The exact number of South Burnett allied health professionals who took part in the action is unknown.

The unions will resume discussions with Qld Health in a few days but are unwilling to rule out further strike action after Christmas. They also say that the State Government's pay rise offer is being impacted by its bungling of the new health payroll system earlier this year.

"The Government's 2.5% a year offer is worth $163 million," QPSU General Secretary Alex Scott said, "but the payroll debacle will cost closer to $300 million. This dispute with the Government is an attempt by them to claw back money that they lost through their own incompetence."

Mr Scott also disputed a claim by Queensland Health that 50% of the State's allied professionals already earn more than $100,000 a year, saying the figure was closer to 5%.
South Burnett
Physiotherapist Shortage
Hits Hospital Patients Hard
25th November 2010: A critical shortage of trained physiotherapists in the South Burnett is forcing Kingaroy Hospital's Allied Health Unit to put strict limits on the number of treatments that each of their patients receives.

The staff shortage - which began earlier this month - means that the Hospital's physiotherapists are being instructed to discharge patients whether they're fully recovered or not.

Hospital physio staff give each patient a home exercise program and advice on other possible treatment options once their allotted block of appointments are used up.

But in the South Burnett, the only other realistic treatment options open to patients are to use one of the six existing private physiotherapy practices that operate in the region, or to travel further afield to Toowoomba, Brisbane or the coast.

The Hospital's physiotherapy staff currently service the entire South Burnett, including five regional hospitals and two aged care facilities.

But the department receives many urgent referrals each week and says that it's been compelled to put the current arrangements in place in order to ensure that top priority cases receive attention.

The situation is unlikely to change until additional physiotheraphy staff are recruited - something that could take anywhere from several weeks to several months.
Blackbutt-Benarkin Aged Care Association Seeks Public Input Through Community Survey
18th November 2010: The Blackbutt-Benarkin Aged Care Association are asking all residents within a 100km radius of the town concerned about the South Burnett's current shortage of residential aged care facilities to complete and return a brief community survey to them before the end of November.

The Association has been working to build a modern residential aged care facility in Blackbutt for more than a decade.

At present, elderly residents in the area who need residential aged care have to travel to Nanango, Toogoolawah, Crows Nest, Kingaroy, Kilcoy or even further afield to find a place. And this not only separates them from family and friends, but also imposes steep travelling times and costs on visitors.

The Association has purchased a 5 acre block of land at Blackbutt to house the facility and have also accumulated funds towards building it. But the passage of time has altered the demographics of its proposed 100km catchment area - hence the need for the survey to collect up-to-date data.

Association President Jeff Connor (pictured), the Practice Manager of the Timbertown Medical Centre, believes that - if anything - the need for a new aged care facility in the South Burnett has only intensified over the last decade.

"We can tell from the patients who come through our own practice that the South Burnett has an increasingly grey population," he said. "But unfortunately Government statistics are always several years behind reality. So we're hoping our community survey will help fill in some gaps in the official data".

The survey is available through local stores from Esk and Crows Nest through to Murgon and Wondai - but you can download a printable copy of it in PDF format by clicking here.

You can also obtain a press release from the Association which explains why they believe the need for a new aged care facility in the South Burnett exists by clicking here.
Welcome To The New
South Burnett Health
Version 2.0
7th November 2010: The new version 2.0 of South Burnett Health - the South Burnett's online medical and health services directory - was launched today.

South Burnett Health began life in 2007 as a joint project between the Southern Queensland Rural Division of General Practice and the South Burnett Online network. Its aim was to make it easy to find medical and health services in the South Burnett by making contact details for all local medical and health service providers available on the Internet.

South Burnett Health ceased to operate in early 2009 when the SQRDGP changed its organisational structure, name and focus. But we believe this website helps many people so we've brought it back to life with several improvements.

  • The first of these is that all listings in South Burnett Health are now drawn from our regional business database SouthBurnett.Biz. This means that medical and health service providers only need to add (or update) their details once on either site to make their information instantly available on both.

  • The second is that we've made simple, straight-forward information about how to lodge a complaint about a health matter (and who to complain to) available online. Our previous experience with Version 1.0 of this site showed us that many people don't know where to turn to when trouble strikes, and we hope our information will be helpful.

  • The third is that we've added links to a number of reputable sites that provide a very wide range of health information (something we'll be adding to over time). We hope these will be helpful too.

  • And the fourth is that from now on, we'll be covering one (or more) South Burnett health issues in our front page news every week - and if you want to "Like" us on Facebook, you can get a brief summary of these news updates delivered to your Facebook page whenever we publish them.

We hope you like the new South Burnett Health and we'll have additional improvements for you in the months ahead.

And if you provide a medical or health service in the South Burnett and aren't currently listed with us (or are currently listed but your details have changed), simply complete our Service Listing Form and you'll be added or updated on our system within 24 hours. It only takes a minute or less and it's completely free.
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