14 December 2023

New one-stop shop for region’s vulnerable patients

| Matt Nicholls
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QAIHC’s general manager of health reform Robert Skeen, TCHHS acting chief executive Dean Davidson and CHHHS chief executive Leena Singh.

Patients from Cape York and the Torres Strait, all the way south to Tully, are having their care better co-ordinated via a new centre that has started operating in Cairns.

The Torres and Cape and Cairns and Hinterland hospital and health services have partnered with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) to deliver the new Care Coordination Service Centre in Draper Street, Cairns.

The centre is a ‘one-stop shop’ for complex patient support and has been developed as a single point of contact for patients to help them navigate the health system.

The centre has a full range of co-located patient services such as travel, finance, referral systems, and digital information services.

It has 180 staff drawn from Torres and Cape and Cairns and Hinterland hospital and health services, as well as QAIHC.

There is a telehealth training room, as well as an emergency response room where emergency services teams can come together to respond to any health emergency.

The new centre also includes space for Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s Virtual Ward staff, thereby helping to free up space at Cairns Hospital.

“A significant proportion of the local populations across the Far North identified as vulnerable patients,” said Health Minister Shannon Fentiman.

“This region has a significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (14.2 per cent compared to the state average of 4 per cent).

“This new centre aims to improve health equity and ensure the care of vulnerable patients with complex health needs is fully coordinated, thereby reducing their need to travel, and – where possible – provide their care closer to home.

“As such, it is critical that their health care is delivered by the right people with the right skills, at the right place and right time. This is what the partnership is designed to deliver.

“Care closer to home will be provided through outreach clinics and a greater utilisation and support for telehealth and virtual care.”

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