On Tuesday, August 27th Federal Member for Longman Terry Young MP hosted the Bribie Island Health Forum at the Bribie Island RSL.
The packed out forum had over 200 highly engaged members of the community keenly listening as Federal Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP discussed the Morrison Government’s plan for the healthcare system.
Minister Hunt started by announcing “[the] Caboolture/Sunshine Coast area will be home to Australia’s first residential treatment centre for eating disorders, and what’s interesting is this community… this community helped create the groundswell which changed the way we deal with eating disorders.”
These residential treatment facilities will be rolled out across the country, in every state and territory but the first, as Minister Hunt said, will be located on the Sunshine Coast.
Further plans for the healthcare system are focused on four major points; Primary Care, Hospitals, Mental Health and Preventative Health, and Medical Research.
During his speech Minister Hunt elaborated and went into further detail on each of these points which include among other things:
A half a billion-dollar plan to bring more much-needed doctors into regional areas
Making new medicines accessible and affordable
Bringing in new forms of treatment; such as CAR T-cell therapy for cancer patients
A 100million dollar program for Seniors designed to give them support to seek the help they may need for mental health wellbeing
Building a national network of mental health services for Adults
A 5million dollar program to the Medical Research Future Fund
Mental Health, in particular, is a personal passion for the Federal Health Minister who, speaking on the topic, said “I grew up in a house where my Mum struggled with Bi-polar. And it was at the time when people didn’t really talk about it. So… I buried it for 20 years and never talked about it until I was actually on Q&A and just the way one of the questions was asked I started to talk about it… and when I came into this role I determined that for the first time we would raise mental health up to being one of the great pillars of the National Health System in Australia.”
Decreasing the self-stigma that comes with Mental Health and aiding those at risk from Mental Health are also passions of the Prime Minister and Treasurer, Minister Hunt mentioned.
Following the Minister’s presentation, the floor was opened up to questions from the members of the community in attendance. Many took the opportunity to ask the Minister about several health-related matters affecting themselves, family members and the wider residents in the Longman electorate.
One man from the audience shared the story of his granddaughter who’d had sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body's response to an infection, and urged the Federal Government to increase awareness for sepsis, to this Minister Hunt was happily able to respond that the Chief Medical Officer was already working on this issue.
Among those asking questions was Member for Pumicestone Simone Wilson MP who raised the issue of after-hours medical services, which island residents are in dire need of. Minister Hunt was tactful in his answers to all questions offering to look into things and to try help where he could, but very admirably refusing to be drawn into making any false promises.
As the forum drew to a close, and for those who still had questions Minister Hunt requested that everyone pass on their questions or concerns to Mr Young who, as Federal Member for Longman, could then follow up with him to provide responses at a later time.
Following the forum, Minister Hunt accompanied by Mr Young visited the Bribie Respite Centre at Woorim for a tour through the facilities.
Overall the health forum was a successful event with attendees ranging from medical professionals through to a diverse range of local residents with a keen interest in health care facilities and outcomes for residents on Bribie Island and its close surrounding areas.
Mr Young said he was pleased with the response to the Bribie Island Health Forum.
“I would like to thank the Federal Health Minister for taking the time to visit the Longman electorate and talk to the community at the forum and then at the Bribie Respite Centre,” he said.
“We had a huge response to the Bribie Island Health Forum and the Minister’s visit. The event was completely booked out and it was great to see a full house.
“It was great to listen to what the Minister had to say and I was pleased to hear so many good questions from the members of our community.
“I understand the concerns of the people of Longman when it comes to the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families, and this is what this forum was all about. Giving them the platform and the opportunity to put questions to the Minister and get the answers they need.”