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Plan Unveiled To Improve Health Services

Filed under Breaking News, Front2, Health, Latest News

Darling Downs Health chief executive Dr Peter Gillies with Darling Downs Health Board chairman
Mike Horan (Photo: DDHHS)

February 28, 2020

A new plan to improve access to mental health, suicide prevention and drug treatment services in the local region has been developed by the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network (PHN).

The “Regional Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Plan” was officially launched in Ipswich last week.

The Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN covers the South Burnett, Cherbourg, Toowoomba, Western Downs, Somerset, Goondiwindi, Southern Downs, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Ipswich council areas.

The new plan aims to integrate care across the health system to improve services for individuals, carers and families affected by a mental health problems, alcohol and other drug use, and suicide.

It also aims to reduce stigma for people accessing the care they need.

“The PHN is committed to collaborating with Darling Downs Health and West Moreton Health to ensure that all people living with a mental health condition and alcohol and other drug use in our region can access effective and appropriate treatment,” Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN CEO Merrilyn Strohfeldt said.

Darling Downs Health chief executive Dr Peter Gillies said the plan would lay the foundation for future co-ordination and integration of care for people.

More than 100 representatives from a wide range of organisations  participated in consultations and workshops to identify key issues and develop priorities for the plan.

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Some facts from the Regional Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Plan:

  • The PHN region spans 95,639sq km and has a population of 558,803, including 24,549 people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Darling Downs Health services about 280,200 people in the local government areas of Cherbourg, Goondiwindi, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Western Downs and a
    small portion of Banana
  • Around a third (31.4 per cent) of the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN population falls within the most disadvantaged quintile (compared with 20 per cent for Queensland). Areas with a high proportion of the population in the most disadvantaged quintile include Riverview (100 per cent) and Nanango (91.0 per cent)
  • 6.4 per cent of the PHN population (32,811 people) live with a profound or severe disability (compared with 5.4 per cent for Queensland)
  • Deaths from suicide and self-inflicted injury in the PHN occurred at an average annual standardised rate of 15.5 per 100,000 (2011-2015) compared with 14.1 for Queensland and 11.5 for Australia. The PHN region is ranked 5th highest in Australia. Areas of particular concern in the Darling Downs Health region included Kingaroy Region – North Nanango 26.9; and Kingaroy/Kingaroy Region – South 17.7
  • In the Darling Downs region, males die by suicide at a higher rate than females (7.2:1) with people aged 35 years and under representing nearly 44 per cent of suicides

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