Doctors call for regional health champion
EXCLUSIVE: DOCTORS are calling on politicians to use the final days of their campaigns to address the growing palliative care crisis in Queensland.
AMA Queensland's Five Point Plan for Better Health is also asking political parties to appoint an assistant health minister for regional areas.
The organisation argues there are many one-doctor towns where medical services could be significantly compromised if a doctor retires, grows sick or relocates.
"We think that this needs to be addressed through the appointment of an assistant health minister who will act as a rural health champion within government, focusing on the issues impacting rural health delivery,” the plan says.
AMA Queensland's election manifesto is calling for the next state government to increase funding for palliative care and specialised training.
President Dr Bill Boyd said palliative care had been ignored for too long.
"Palliative care has already been cut from six to three months for patients and this dire situation is set to worsen in the next few years,” he said.
"As our population ages we will see huge increases in the number of elderly people requiring palliative care services. If we're struggling now, how will we cope in five, 10 or 20 years?”
Palliative Care Queensland estimates that referrals are increasing about 20 per cent a year.
AMA Queensland is also asking the next state government to encourage advance care planning, ensuring patients are better prepared for end-of-life care and their wishes respected.
"Our health system is good at finding out what's wrong with patients and then 'fixing' them - but we haven't devoted enough money or attention to improving end-of-life care,” Dr Boyd said.
"Palliative care patients and their families deserve the very best care we can give them.”
Other AMAQ policies include extending funding for programs to improve the health of doctors and ensuring obstetricians see all pregnant women in the public health system routinely.
To view the Five Point Plan for Better Health go to: www.amaq.com.au/icms_docs/276330_election-platform---five-point-plan-for-better-health.pdf