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South Burnett And Cherbourg Kids Get Access To New ENT Telehealth Service
27th April 2011: More South Burnett children will have access to specialist ear health services closer to home with the expansion of a mobile screening project.

Queensland Health Minister Geoff Wilson said the program gave aboriginal children in Cherbourg and the South Burnett access to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist without having to travel.

"This is an innovative new way to deliver these specialist services to children closer to home," Mr Wilson said. "Under this expansion - part of the Deadly Ears program - mobile screening is being provided in more local schools and day care centres

"Before this, children had to go to a hospital or primary health care centre for ear health screening. And many simply did not attend. But by ensuring children can more easily access this important service we're hoping to improve treatment rates and ultimately prevent hearing loss.

"We expect to see over 1,000 children screened in the region in the next 12 months, with the proportion of young people who have been screened growing to around 82%."

More than 30 students from Years 8 to 12 at Murgon High School were amongst the first screened today.

Mr Wilson said the Bligh Government had provided more than $205,000 in new funding to expand the mobile screening program. One staff member is already in place and a second was being recruited and is expected to start work next month. This will take the number of schools being serviced from 15 to 20.

Mr Wilson said under the program images of the children's ears are sent to a specialist via a secure wireless internet link to allow their ear health to be assessed rapidly and treatment prioritised.

The ear health program is specifically targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, to help address issues around endemic ear disease in the community.
New Medical Student Program Will Help Ease Region's
Critical Doctor Shortage
8th February 2011: A new program called Rural Longook will help to ease the South Burnett's critical doctor shortage this year.

The program has been put together by RHealth, Griffith University and Queensland Rural Medical Education and its expansion into the South Burnett was officially launched at Kingaroy RSL last Friday.

As part of the project, medical students will have longer placements in rural and remote communities. This will be complemented by locally-based education provided as part of their medical degree at Griffith University.

A key aim of the project is to provide medical students with a longer experience of life and work in rural and remote communities across South Western Queensland than most currently receive.

The project's co-founders hope that this will encourage the students to think seriously about a career in rural medicine and the many benefits that the lifestyle offers.

As part of Rural Longlook, six third-year medical students have been assigned to a one-year placement at Kingaroy Hospital. And while future assignments aren't guaranteed, a successful trial in the region may lead to more in the future. And possibly one (or more) of the students deciding to call the South Burnett home after they graduate.

Photo: (left to right) Professor Simon Broadley and medical students Tom Francis, Joshua Stevens and Stuart Stower-Wynn at the South Burnett launch of Rural Longlook last Friday.
New AMA Doctor's Directory Misses Two-Thirds
Of South Burnett's Doctors
23rd December 2010: A new web based doctor's directory developed by the Australian Medical Association has omitted almost two-thirds of the GPs who practice in the South Burnett.

According to the AMA's Find A Doctor website there are no doctors at all in Nanango or Yarraman. The directory also says that there are only two doctors in Kingaroy and only one in Wondai.

In fact, there are currently four medical practices in Nanango; one in Yarraman; five in Kingaroy and two in Wondai (as well as one in Blackbutt and another in Cherbourg).

The AMA say their new website is designed to assist consumers to locate a GP. The site is also available as a downloadable IPad application.

However, the site only lists AMA affiliated doctors and practices. And by not listing almost two-thirds of the region's GPs it can impute that they're not AMA affiliates. This is something that isn't correct.

You can view a complete - and accurate - list of all GP's practising in the South Burnett by clicking here.

Note: South Burnett Heath will be taking a break over the Festive Season and will return in February 2011. We'd like to thank all our readers for visiting us this year and for the very positive reception our revamped website has received. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy - and healthy - New Year.
Up-To-Date South Burnett Hospitals Reporting Data Now Available On Our Website
16th December 2010: Up-to-date data on nearly all the hospitals in the South Burnett is now available on our website thanks to the Federal Government's "My Hospitals" programme.

The "My Hospitals" program is modelled on the controversial "My Schools" programme (which allows consumers to compare schools against a variety of criteria).

It provides "transparent" reporting on every hospital's performance against new national standards that were developed as part of the Federal Government's $50 billion health reform agenda announced in April this year.

After several months of data collection - a process that's still not fully complete - and several months of delays which saw the initially planned August 2010 launch date pushed back by almost four months, the new My Hospitals website went live on the Net last Friday, December 10th.

And yesterday Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced that she now has plans to expand it to add "more sensitive" information to better allow consumers to better choose amongst hospitals. This is likely to include safety and quality data (such as infection rates).

And to assist our readers easily access this data, we've now added links to the relevant pages of My Hospitals for all the South Burnett's public and private hospital listings in our database with the sole exception of the South Burnett Private Hospital in Kingaroy, where data is still being assembled.

This final link will be added in the near future, however, when the data appears on the My Hospitals website.
Murgon To Get A
New $12 Million
Castra Aged Care Facility
13th December 2010: Murgon will get a brand new Castra Retirement Home in the next few years thanks to the allocation of 28 high care places from the Federal Government under the latest Aged Care Approvals Round announced last Friday.

Castra's operator Southern Cross Care has also been given a zero-interest $8.4 million loan to help build a new facility in Murgon to house the extra beds. And the company now has plans to invest a further $3.6 million of its own money to build a modern 60-bed facility to replace the existing 32-bed Castra that's now 30 years old.

Southern Cross Queensland CEO Peter Bell said that he was excited by the news. "Until now, Castra was only able to supply residential accommodation. This meant that clients who had high care needs had to be relocated to Kingaroy or other places. This was very hard on both the residents and their families.

"But now - thanks to the allocation of high care beds and the Federal Government's loan - we'll be able to bring an all-in-one, truly modern residential aged care facility to Murgon."

The company hope to commence building the new facility on vacant land next to the existing Castra buildings as soon as possible after Council and other approvals are in place. Once built, residents will be relocated into the new facility and the old one will be demolished.

Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss - who's long campaigned for additional high care beds for the area - said he was also "delighted" at the news (which saw two aged care centres at Gympie and one at Tewantin allocated 46 new high and low care places between them). But he warned that the Federal Government still needs to take action to redress the real decline in aged care funding to help the aged care sector remain viable.