Comments about the Heart of Australia mobile clinic made by Minister for Health Cameron Dick to the Queensland Parliamentary Estimates Hearing yesterday show he has little understanding of, and even less interest in, closing the appalling health outcomes gap for rural Queenslanders according to the Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar.
“The Minister’s comments that he hasn’t ceased funding the Heart of Australia are at best disingenuous. The fact is, he has stopped a program which was achieving demonstrable outcomes for rural cardiology patients,” said Mr Millar.
Mr Millar said many country Australians do the right thing and maintain high private health cover in case of a medical calamity, but their other opportunities to participate in the full private-public health service enjoyed by the rest of Queensland is virtually non-existent.
“This is why we are diagnosed later, receive less treatment and less follow-up management and education. This is why we are dying younger than our city cousins. The Heart of Australia model brings the private system out to rural Queenslanders and removes all those obstacles to closing the health outcomes gap,” he said.
“There are additional benefits for the health system itself in having top Queensland specialists regularly visiting our rural and remote towns. It decreases the level of professional isolation for our GPs and will make our GP workforce more sustainable. It will also relieve our rural public hospitals and allow the Minister to use our public health dollars to assist that section of our rural population for whom it is the only option,” said Mr Millar.
Mr Millar said the Minister’s attitude towards securing such an outstanding program for rural Queenslanders was bewildering and disappointing.