Advocates for healthcare in rural communities like Beaudesert are calling for collaborative care models to address a broader maternity care crisis across the state.
The Beaudesert Hospital maternity unit, which reopened in 2014 after a hard-fought community battle, continues to be the envy of rural communities across the state.
However, as talks continue to address the significant healthcare challenges in other rural communities, Beaudesert Hospital advocates are keeping a close eye on their local services.
The Bulletin understands staff from Beaudesert Hospital attended Queensland Health’s Women’s Health Workforce Forum on 2 March, which focused on workforce challenges impacting women’s health services in regional, rural, and remote parts of the state.
Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) President Dr Matt Masel and General Manager Marg Moss, who were also at the forum, said collaborative care models were crucial in addressing the state’s growing maternity care crisis and described local birthing as a ‘keystone to rural healthcare’ in its newly released Maternity Care Position Paper.
Health workforce issues came into focus again when Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause hosted Queensland Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli for a ‘Health Crisis Town Hall’ at the Beaudesert CWA Hall in early March.
In response to an enquiry from the Bulletin, Mr Krause said it was important to build on Beaudesert Hospital’s strengths.
“Beaudesert Hospital – particularly its size and location – sees it rely on doctors that are rural generalists with particular areas of specialisation (for example, emergency medicine, obstetrics, anaesthetics),” he said.
“It is a model that includes midwives and nursing staff and is proven to work. Ensuring the future of these services – and others in rural and regional Queensland – requires a commitment by QLD Health at the political and administrative level to train and recruit people for these roles.
“I’m glad that constant pressure has kept services on foot at Beaudesert. If there are impediments, such as pay inequity between metropolitan roles and others, those barriers need to be removed. In the longer term, expansion of Beaudesert Hospital and its services will likely change the mix of skills required and should bring more specialised services and personnel to Beaudesert Hospital.
“We have seen a lot of talk about these issues in the past 4-5 years, but still only deterioration in rural health services in Queensland. I know that staff from Beaudesert Hospital were present in the forum, and I’d be keen to seek a briefing from Government about how this forum will improve the situation.
“In particular, when the Minister references “workforce shortages” and “rotational support models”, I want to ensure this is not code for sending personnel from a hospital with a strong, established service to other parts of the State where the Government has dropped the ball and allowed services to cease.”