10 May 2023

Allied health hub a step closer to reality

| Cape York Weekly
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A WEIPA woman’s dream to establish an allied health hub in the community is not far from becoming a reality.

Myotherapist Anna Drum has an ambition to bring additional health services to Weipa, including a speech therapist and social workers.

“I am in the early stages of launching Western Cape York’s very first allied health hub that will bring permanent locally- based health services to the region,” she said.

“These providers would be based in Weipa and could conduct outreach appointments in communities like Napranum and Mapoon.”

Capability Health will be a community-centric hub that is accessible and available to all.

“We have a great allied health service at the hospital but due to the high demand on service sometimes they are not always available to everyone in the community, depending on their level of need,” Ms Drum said.

“We hope to complement the service and alleviate some of the pressure on the wait list.

“As a community member and health professional in this region for the past 13 years, I have experienced first-hand the impact of not having permanent allied health services here.

“So often community members ignore their health and wellbeing needs because their socioeconomic situation and remoteness makes it all too hard, financially and mentally.

“This creates a culture of not addressing health issues when they are acute issues and leaving them until they are chronic.”

A small team has already been assembled.

Joining Capability Health is speech pathologist Karyn Johns and social worker Kate Richarson, who begins in mid-October.

They will be supported by receptionist Louise McCready at the home-based business.

Ms Johns, who is based on the Gold Coast, recently made a trip to Weipa.

She said her approach to speech therapy was to ensure that parents and family members could play an active role.

“You can’t just build something that depends on one person or one therapist,” she said.

“It’s important to develop an infrastructure.

“Things like putting books into the library that parents can read to their children is something small but very effective.”

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