13 February 2024

New Indigenous healthcare model for Cooma and Batemans Bay

| Katrina Condie
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Cooma Hospital.

A new model will trial a culturally appropriate health care service in Cooma and Batemans Bay. Photo: Region.

A new multidisciplinary health service model of care will deliver culturally appropriate primary health care services in the Cooma and Batemans Bay areas.

The model will utilise local First Nations stories to create health prevention and chronic condition management programs, fostering prevention, early detection and mitigation of chronic conditions.

Grand Pacific Health has received $873,412 in federal funding to deliver the program, which will trial new ways of delivering multidisciplinary primary care in rural and remote communities.

The program, to be implemented in Cooma and Batemans Bay by June 2024, will involve health care professionals working together across disciplines to ensure Australians get the right care, at the right time, by the right team.

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Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain said the innovative program would bring primary health care professionals together to deliver targeted services to communities.

“We know that when we listen to communities and engage with people in a culturally respectful way, we can improve the care and management of complex health problems,” she said.

“This is part of our broader investment in improving health care in Eden-Monaro – which also includes wiping HECS debts for doctors and nurses, tripling the bulk billing incentive, and looking at how we can better distribute health care workers as part of our Working Better for Medicare Review.”

Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips said regional health care was experiencing “significant challenges” and she was delighted to see investment in a model targeted towards our First Nations communities.

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“We must prioritise access to primary care in new and innovative ways so that local people can access the health services they need, before health issues escalate and place even more pressure on our struggling hospital systems,” Mrs Phillips said.

“We have listened to feedback from regional doctors about what they need, and we have targeted our regional and rural health care package to where it is needed most.”

She said the new Urgent Care Clinic in Batemans Bay had seen almost 2000 patients since it opened two months ago, supporting local people and taking pressure off the local hospital.

“On top of this, we are supporting practices to train, recruit and importantly retain more regional doctors, as well as improving access to bulk billing, and supporting GPs with targeted financial assistance,” Mrs Phillips added.

“You can’t undo a decade of neglect in general practice overnight, but we will keep working every day to address the unique challenges regional communities like ours on the South Coast are facing.”

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