Women’s health gets $13m boost

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Women’s health will re­ceive a boost in sev­eral Pil­bara towns as the fo­cus of a new phase of a longterm re­gional health pro­gram.

A $13.63 mil­lion ex­ten­sion of the Pil­bara Health Ini­tia­tive — a part­ner­ship be­tween the State Gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try aimed at im­prov­ing health­care in the re­gion — an­nounced last week will bring more ob­stet­ric ser­vices and med­i­cal spe­cial­ists to Nickol Bay Hospi­tal in Kar­ratha and sup­port a women’s health pro­gram in Tom Price and New­man.

New po­si­tions be­ing funded in­clude an emer­gency medicine spe­cial­ist, a sur­geon, a pae­di­a­tri­cian, and a med­i­cal sup­port of­fi­cer.

WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice re­gional direc­tor Ron Wynn said ru­ral women’s health was a fo­cus of the health ini­tia­tive’s lat­est phase.

“As women aged 20-40 years make up more than 40 per cent of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion, phase two also fo­cuses on ru­ral women’s health,” he said.

“This in­cludes the pro­vi­sion of a women’s health nurse through the Nin­tirri Cen­tre who will work within the pri­mary care frame­work and de­velop ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing early de­tec­tion and ill­ness pre­ven­tion, health screens and re­fer­rals to ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vices.”

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Terry Red­man said the five-year first phase of the Pil­bara Health Ini­tia­tive had al­ready made a sub­stan­tial im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties’ level of ac­cess to health­care.

“For the first time, five Pil­bara towns have per­ma­nently based paramedics, pa­tients in Kar­ratha have ac­cess to a CT scan­ner, and more women have been able to give birth lo­cally,” he said.

“This four-year fund­ing ex­ten­sion re­flects the Pil­bara Cities vi­sion of build­ing vi­brant and live­able com­mu­ni­ties that peo­ple will choose to raise a fam­ily in and call home long into the fu­ture.”

Health Min­is­ter John Day said the new phase of the Pil­bara Health Ini­tia­tive fol­lowed the so­far suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strat­egy. “Over the past decade, we have seen a rapid in­crease in the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion due to the ex­tra­or­di­nary re­source sec­tor de­vel­op­ment, and this has put sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure on health ser­vices,” he said.

Phase two of the health pro­gram is due to start in June.

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