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New treatment space opens at Ipswich Hospital



A NEW clinical space has opened up at Ipswich Hospital but it’s no ordinary consultation room.

This space was built using three tonnes of sandstone and granite rocks and ironbark timber.

It’s part of a collaborative project to better meet the needs of the indigenous community.

Statistically, indigenous West Moreton residents have a shorter life expectancy than non-indigenous patients and this new clinical space, known as a yarning circle, is designed to reduce that number.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service officially opened the new clinical space at a special ceremony last week.

The new Yarning Circle, built outside the hospital’s East St entrance, will provide a culturally safe and appropriate meeting space for patients and their families.

The materials that make up the circle were hand picked by elders who explored WMHHS project manager Justin Bowman property to find the right materials to build the circle.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Michael Willis said the opening of the space was a significant moment for the health service.

“The Yarning Circle is symbolic of the working partnership between West Moreton and the Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders but, importantly, it represents our response to the challenge to deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mr Willis said.

“In West Moreton, the life expectancy of Indigenous residents is 19 years less than that of non-Indigenous residents.

“This is unacceptable and something West Moreton is determined to change.

“The Yarning Circle is recognition that a one-size-fits-all model of care will not deliver the best outcomes for all community members.


LET'S TALK: A new clinical space, built with three tonnes of materials taken from a local property, has opened at Ipswich Hospital.
LET’S TALK: A new clinical space, built with three tonnes of materials taken from a local property, has opened at Ipswich Hospital.

“A successful health service needs to be nimble enough to respond to change and be willing to tailor our approach to best meet the health needs of the West Moreton community.

“We know that sometimes the extended family responsibilities of Indigenous patients, a lack of trust in institutions or a lack of connection to the area means that some people do not feel able or comfortable to remain in hospital for the full duration of their treatment.

“Together we have built a culturally safe and appropriate place where Indigenous patients and their families can meet with Elders or Indigenous health liaison officers to comfortably discuss any concerns and help make a decision that will lead to better health outcomes.”

Traditional Owner and Ugarapul Elder Uncle Ross Anderson said the Yarning Circle would provide a place for elders to sit and talk and share their wisdom and knowledge with patients and their families.

“It will be a place of emotional, spiritual and social healing and by connecting with others, we hope Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients will find comfort at a time when they are away from their families and homes,” Uncle Ross said.

“Anyone should feel welcome to come to the Yarning Circle – it’s for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but it’s also for the people of Ipswich and the world.”

WMHHS Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said it was a special privilege to work in partnership with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders for the benefit of the community.

“We celebrate the cultural diversity of the West Moreton community and want to work with community leaders to make sure we do everything we can to deliver care in a culturally appropriate and safe way.

“We hope this Yarning Circle will make it easier for people to connect and to chat freely with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders to help support people as they recover.”

The Yarning Circle was a collaboration between West Moreton Hospital and Health Service and Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders, supported by Ipswich City Council and the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network.


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Mothballed $6M kids facility re-opens at Ipswich Hospital



A MOTHBALLED $6 million pediatric emergency room at Ipswich Hospital has re-opened, almost a year after it was closed.

Parents once again have access to 24-hour, seven day a week, purpose built facility catering to children with the hospital Emergency Department.

Queensland’s Health Minister Cameron Dick says since the unit re-opened this month, it has been used by almost 40 children each day, clearly demonstrating the demand.

It comes after the existing facility was mothballed by West Moreton Hospital and Health Service’s former Chief Executive Sue McKee.

On October 31, the purpose-built $6 million facility including a separate child friendly waiting area, 12 emergency beds, six short stay beds and specialist staff, closed.

Queensland Health was quick to step in after learning the unit had been closed via the QT’s front page story on November 8.

That day the Health Department declared the facility – referred to by the Bligh Government as ‘high priority’ and built in 2014 – would reopen.

Sue McKee suddenly resigned as Chief Executive the following January.

Ten months after the facility closed, it has been redesigned and reopened, with some changes.

The child-friendly waiting area has been reinstalled, a play area included and four emergency pediatric beds made available.

More staff have also been funded in the redesign, referred to as Clinical Decision Unit, using an additional $5 million added to the health service’s budget.

About 20 % of all presentations to the Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department are children; in the 2015-2016 financial year that represents about 16,200 children.

Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department Director Cade Grima said the new facility would operate in conjunction with the existing Emergency Department and other recent initiatives such as the Clinical Decision Unit to improve patient flow and experience.

Ipswich Hospital's Emergency Department Director, Dr Cade Grima.
Ipswich Hospital’s Emergency Department Director, Dr Cade Grima.

“We know the Emergency Department is not the kind of place a child ordinarily wants to go but for those who require urgent medical attention, we want to make sure we can offer children the most inviting space possible in a clinical environment, as well as top medical care,” Dr Grima said.

“It does not mean we can now accept children presenting with a more-broad scale of health concerns – the emergency paediatric room remains a place to attend in the event of an emergency only.

“As always, we ask the West Moreton community to remember to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies and let us dedicate our resources to the people that need it the most.”

In 2009 the Bligh government announced an expansion of pediatric services at Caboolture, Ipswich, Logan, Redcliffe and Redlands hospitals off the back of the South East Queensland Paediatric Planning Report.

The expansion, which in Ipswich’s case was finished as part of the $128 million renovations, was marketed as offering “the best care for your child close to home”.

Since the expansion of Logan Hospital, families have had access to a 24-hour specialist paediatric services in the emergency department all year round.

Extract from South East Queensland Paediatric Planning Report


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