Transition of Health Services Update

NIHRACS is committed to continuing to provide a health service that best meets the needs of the Norfolk Island community.

As most people are well aware, our support partner after the 31st January will move from South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service to the Metro North Hospital and Health Service in Brisbane.

Metro North is the largest hospital and health service in Queensland. It includes the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Prince Charles Hospital, Redcliffe Hospital, Caboolture Hospital, Kilcoy Hospital  the new STARS centre and  other community services Brisbane based Metro North also provide support services to the Far West and Far North of Queensland and have a lot of experience delivering and supporting services in very remote locations.

Since the Heads of Government Agreement was signed in October, staff from NSW Health, Qld Health, DITRDC and NIHRACS have been meeting to plan and progress the transition of health services to ensure minimal interruption. In a short period a lot of progress has been made and NIHRACS is confident that with the help of all our partners, old and new,  the community’s needs will continue to be met.

Over forty service streams have been identified and these have been prioritised. The first group including emergency services, public health and the COVID response, aged care, nephrology, cardiology, pathology, ophthalmology, and medical imaging will be provided from 1st January. In some cases, such as medical imaging, there are interim measures that have been developed to ensure the continuation of services while the full integration with Metro North takes place.

As is the current practice, there will be some private medical and allied health professionals that will continue to provide visiting and Telehealth services.

It is expected that the second group of work, including financial management, safety and quality, allied health, short term infrastructure changes, and pharmacy, will be completed by the middle of the year.  The last group is expected to be completed before the end of next year.

Clarification has been provided that as a Medicare card holder, under the principles of universal health care, residents on Norfolk Island will continue to have choice regarding access in other jurisdictions. 

The interactions with people from Metro North make it very clear that they are passionate about providing optimal compassionate health care that is evidence based and innovative. There will be some challenges along the way as processes get developed and refined.  INIHRACS is confident that it will be a positive relationship that will bring many benefits to the community and staff.

This has started already. Metro North sent four of their nurses to Norfolk to undertake mask fit testing for the staff at NIHRACS and other essential workers, so we are better prepared for when COVID reaches our shores.

If you have any questions before the 20th December call the Transition Project Manager Vanessa on 52163 or email Vanessa.Bakker@hospital.gov.nf . After the 20th December contact the Hospital Manager Kath Boman on 50918 or email kathleen.boman@hospital.gov.nf

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