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Just don’t get sick in the bush

HEALTH CONCERNS: Kiarra Thompson believes the South Burnett's health services need to be improved.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Kiarra Thompson believes the South Burnett's health services need to be improved. Rhiannon Tuffield

WHEN it comes to the access of decent health, Jeanette Thompson believes where you live depends on how lucky you are: and rural, regional and remote Australia is suffering.

The Nanango woman has lived in the region for the past three decades and said she had witnessed health services deteriorate in that time, with casual doctor's appointments almost impossible to secure.

She said many of the practices in the South Burnett wouldn't accept new patients and that it sometimes took weeks to see a doctor.

For her and her family, it wasn't uncommon to travel hours away to see a doctor.

"The other night my son had a doctor's appointment in Nanango at 6pm and we never actually ended up in that appointment until 11pm," Mrs Thompson said.

"It's shocking, absolutely terrible and trying to actually get those appointments is past the point of insanity."

Jeanette's daughter Kiarra Thompson said it was tough bringing up her two young children in a location where healthcare wasn't secure.

"The fact you can't get an appointment for something as serious as a flu is worrying," Kiarra said.

"Otherwise you're waiting two or three days for an appointment and sometimes much longer."

According to a COAG Reform Council report, regional, rural and remote Australians are more likely to be in poorer health, less likely to use health-care services and wait longer for care than city folk.

In rural areas, almost one-third of patients wait 24 hours or more to see a GP for an urgent appointment.

Kingaroy received yet another blow last week after it was denied part of a $230-million plan to advance the state's health services.

Mrs Thompson said the lack of services had a detrimental impact on regional Australians, and health workers in regional areas were understaffed.

"Because of where we are, doctors don't want to come out because there's bugger all out here," she said.

"The health workers here do so much for our community and it's hard on them because they are forced to work ridiculous hours with basically no support. It would be nice if the government would acknowledge we are in dire straits for health care."

Topics:  south burnett health

South Burnett

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