March 14, 2022
The newly formed Cherbourg Health Council Forum met for the first time last week to discuss community concerns about the provision of health services in the town.
The aim is to build a partnership between Council and the various services to create “community-led” changes.
Cherbourg councillors and community representatives aired their concerns to representatives from the Commonwealth Department of Health, Darling Downs Health, the South Burnett Cluster, Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN, CRAICCHS and other agencies.
The forum was chaired by Mayor Elvie Sandow and had four main points of discussion:
1. Culturally appropriate customer service: Cherbourg people need to have access to culturally safe customer service, to feel comfortable when they attend the hospital.
2. Early years: Cherbourg children should be born healthy and strong and thrive in their early years. A focus on “mums and bubs” must be embedded into families.
3. Mental health: Cherbourg people should enjoy high levels of social and emotional wellbeing. Mayor Sandow said this was a big topic which would be taken back to the community for more input.
4. Chronic diseases: Cherbourg should people enjoy long, healthy lives. The main focus was around lifestyle choices.
Mayor Sandow said the most complaints received by Council – about law and order, and health – were matters Council was not funded to look after.
But community members knocked on their doors and talked to them in shops; and councillors were passionate about making a difference.
This is why the Cherbourg Health Council Forum had been formed.
“We want our people to live longer. Look at all the money governments spend on closing the gap,” Mayor Sandow said.
“The gap is not closing, it’s widening,
“If we want the health service delivery in our community to change, we have to do it. Otherwise, no one is going to do it.”
Mayor Sandow said the purpose of the inaugural forum was for the people who live in the community to tell the health professionals what they want to happen.
“Partnership is most important … if you don’t communicate, you’re not going to get anywhere,” she said.
Speaking afterwards, Mayor Sandow said the health professionals were told “some truths” about local health service delivery and how Cherbourg people were being treated.
“We are going to get answers,” she said.
But she felt confident, saying changes had been promised within six months.
“We are going to work together to make this partnership work in our community.”