Rural services require care in health reforms

RDAQ president Dr Ewen McPhee.
RDAQ president Dr Ewen McPhee.

RURAL and regional health services need strong elected representation to ensure they don't "fall off the radar" in the wake of Premier Anna Bligh's abolition of Queensland Health.

Rural Doctors Association Queensland president Dr Ewen McPhee said Monday's announcement of the state's largest health body to be split in two was an acknowledgement of the problems that had plagued the health institution.

But he cautioned strong representation was needed to ensure rural and regional health services didn't fall victim to the 42-day timeframe given to redesign the department.

"The government has basically said 'we cannot manage this situation'," Dr McPhee said.

"It has come from the most senior elected official in the state, and we need to hold them to account."

Dr McPhee said there were a number of concerns surrounding the decision including the fear the announcement could be a "smokescreen" for repairing the long-troubled health system.

"We cannot afford to allow a quasi reform," he said.

"The Rural Doctors Association is well placed to represent the interests of the community."

An independent consultant will have until January 23 to develop the decentralisation plan of Queensland Health, and Premier Bligh is hopeful the overhaul will begin before the next state election.

"From today we begin the process of abolishing Queensland Health as we know it, and giving birth to two separate organisations to see a complete change in culture and performance," she said on Monday.

"I believe that at the frontline they have some of the best doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals of any system in Australia.

"They are being failed by corporate Queensland Health on too many fronts - enough is enough."

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