Locals urged to complete health care access survey

Ex-Grenfell health worker and Nurse, Sue Wade, with a copy of the poster she is putting all around town in order to let people know why it is really essential that they should participate in the new Health Survey.Grenfell residents are about to be asked to about their experiences regarding access to doctors.

A new survey is about to be distributed in the town that will ask residents to provide information such as their problems regarding health delivery in the shire including the availability of health appointments and what distances, if any, they have had to travel to keep those appointments.

The survey is the brainchild of Dr Bernadette Ward and Professor John Humphries from Victoria’s Monash University’s Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care. They are both leading the research team involved in the survey.

No doubt, this survey will be a potent weapon in compiling the difficulties experienced by rural people when it comes to accessing health care of any kind.

Grenfell residents have had bitter first hand experience with the rural health system over the last three years since the retirement of their second doctor and the remaining doctor resigning from the Visiting Medical Officer’s position at the Grenfell Hospital/MPS some two and a half years ago.

Since that time the problems associated with accessing health services by the local population have been well and truly canvassed in the Record.

The strain and stress suffered by the community as a result of all the above has placed a huge burden in that time on the shoulders of local community care organizations and the remaining doctor.

It was, at one time, referred to as “tearing at the social fabric of the town”.

That part of the town’s history may be a thing of the past however, if the new doctor arrives some time in the next couple of months as is planned.

Accessing other health services can still be a lottery when it comes to emergency dental care where treatment will necessitate a trip to nearby larger towns or cities.

The same goes for any specialist treatment, particularly for cancer, although since the advent of the Care West Lodge in Orange it has become a little easier for the family to travel a long distance to visit their loved ones. It must also be said that specialist treatment in small towns such as Grenfell was always a journey to a much bigger population centre although not as often – due to the fact that GP’S had to take on a much wider health care role when medicine was a lot less “specialist” orientated. In fact it has been widely canvassed in the media that one of the main reasons for the shortage of GP’s is the stated preferences of a large number of medical graduates to set up in a specialist clinic rather than practice as a GP when they graduate.

To reinforce all of this, Dr Ward has said that the Survey “will provide evidence to enable fairer access to GP’S for people in rural Australia through policy improvements

And so to the survey.

Sue Wade, who has lived in Grenfell, will be conducting the bulk of the survey locally.

Some locals may remember Sue, a registered nurse, from when she lived and worked in the district. Sue’s husband was the Manager of “Myee”, a very famous Grenfell property, from 1984 until 1994. Sue also worked in Grenfell and Forbes as a health Service Manager and was also a Cluster Manager for the Local Health Area from 2001 until 2007.

So, she has a good knowledge of the area and is in an ideal position to reach the locals with this important work. Needless to say Sue is encouraging everyone to fill out the survey. It is all confidential and providing your name on the document is optional.

The Survey will commence to be distributed to letterboxes on July 30th and posters have put around town to let everyone know what is happening.

If anyone wants any further information you can ring Sue on 0427 531 123 where she is only too happy to answer any questions you may have.

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