Health under the microscope

In a special overview we investigate the never before produced report that shines a light on the state of the region’s healthcare.

The inaugural ‘Local Area Needs Analysis 2022-2025’ (LANA) has been years in the making and was developed following key recommendations from the Queensland Government, with its finding now to be embedded into WMH’s future planning structure.

For communities across Ipswich, Springfield, Lockyer Valley, Gatton, Esk and surrounding regions, the LANA Report provides previously unknown insights into our regions health.

West Moreton Health’s CEO Hannah Bloch said the LANA Report is ‘one of the most detailed snapshots of the health needs of this region that we’ve ever undertaken.’

“We identified which suburbs have a greater experience of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and we looked where rates of chronic disease are higher,” Ms Bloch said

The report resulted in the identification of 24 critical needs across nine priority areas.

This included a mental health crisis which the LANA Report has highlighted as one of our region’s most pressing health epidemics plaguing Ipswich and our surrounding regions.

The LANA Report found mental health related issues were the largest health condition presented to the WMH workforce, with a whopping 140,301 people identified as having mental health concerns between 2019 and 2020, a figure higher almost 4 per cent higher than the Queensland average.

By March 2021, a further 49,464 cases of mental health issues were reported, becoming the highest recorded condition among all ages across all regions.

Mental Health and Specialised Services Executive Director Emma Foreman said mental health is a growing concern across the state and among the region’s population.

“To support those members of the community, West Moreton Health has many existing and new services and initiatives that continue to be developed and supported,” Ms Foreman said.

Adding to this pressures is an array of socio-economic barriers that are fuelling the mental health crisis and impeding our regions access to better health outcomes.

Findings from the LANA Report show high rates of unemployment, poverty, low household incomes and the costs of health services all proving major barriers for local communities.

Across Esk, Riverview, Gatton, Bundamba and the Lockyer Valley East, communities are being hamstrung by these socio-economic barriers in comparison with the rest of Queensland.

Hannah Bloch said the LANA Report also found that more than one-third of people across our region were experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.

“We found social isolation, particularly post COVID, is a significant issue for our region’s rural communities,” she said.

Exacerbating these two key issues is that fact that by 2020 the region’s population was estimated at over 300,000 people, and this figure is growing at a tremendously fast rate.

“For us to be able to meet that need, we need to truly understand what is important to our consumers.”

WMH are now preparing for these challenges identified within the LANA Report as communities face troubling rises in diabetes, obesity, and other preventable chronic illnesses.

Chair of the West Morton Health Board Michael Willis said strengthening partnerships in the community will be key to preparing for these challenges ahead.

“Our focus is on providing safe, quality care, listening to our patients and addressing their needs,” Mr Willis said.

Promisingly, by 2027 stage two of the $710m Ipswich Hospital expansion will be due for completion and includes a host of upgrades and the construction of a new theatre.

Rurally too, a satellite hospital and 90-bed facility at South Ripley is well underway and due for completion in late 2023.

Previous Post
Next Post