By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director
Having access to quality healthcare is important for all people at any stage of life.
In Bundaberg we are fortunate to have a number of services available to us when it comes to maintaining our health and wellbeing, but other areas in our region are not so privileged.
The Discovery Coast, located between Bundaberg and Gladstone, has a rising and ageing population with a growing need for healthcare.
The IMPACT Community Health Service (ICHS) was established in 2016 and took over service delivery from existing providers to ensure ongoing levels of care were maintained.
Since then, the ICHS has developed services tailored to the needs of the Agnes Water region and provides a diverse range of healthcare options to all people, from nursing services to allied health and mental health services.
Locals are now easily able to access immunisations, group fitness classes, mother’s groups, counselling, alcohol and drug support, skin checks, women’s health services, a midwife, breast screening, chronic disease psychology, hearing services and many more.
Our IMPACT Community Health Precinct also offers co-located services such as the General Practitioner at Shore Care Family Practice and the Discovery Physio.
What I find most exciting is the growing number of visiting services that are operating from our precinct on a regular basis.
Given the population of the Discovery Coast, having certain services operate full time from Agnes wouldn’t be justified.
To assist in this space, IMPACT’s health precinct offers shared spaces for practitioners to operate from during their rostered visits.
This way the people of the Discovery Coast can access specialised services when available and don’t have to make unnecessary travel arrangements.
Most recently our precinct welcomed an Optometrist to the list of visiting practitioners, who said many residents had suffered ongoing and debilitating vision impairments due to the lack of service in the area.
Without the health precinct, Discovery Coast residents would have to make a three-hour round trip for any health concerns or appointments or, as many have done, forego health checkups altogether.
Missing out on these important visits due to residential location just isn’t good enough, and we’ve worked hard to deliver fundamental services to the region to avoid this problem.
I was recently speaking to the team in Agnes who shared that they often provide much more than just a health service to locals in need.
The Agnes and Discovery Coast communities are close knit, and our staff are happy to be a point of call for people needing direction in any situation.
The ladies often complete and lodge aged assistance applications and help with other paperwork or enquiries that don’t always relate to the health sector, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
For services not yet available in the Discovery Coast, ICHS rallied to have the patient travel subsidy scheme accessible for patients travelling for health-related appointments or concerns.
At the end of the day our ICHS team are there to support their community through all of life’s challenges.
Like all staff of IMPACT, the ICHS team members take pride in their service delivery and are always looking to go the extra mile for their clients.
I can’t express how proud I am of our health service and the passion our ICHS staff have for their community.
Our “Stronger Together” mentality is certainly a lived value at ICHS, and I’ve seen firsthand how eagerly the team strives to improve the lives of Discovery Coast locals each and every day.