by Jonno Colfs
MORE services, better access to essential specialists and a robust patient transport system were some of the key concerns to come out of the Better Health in Your Community forum at the Warwick Town hall yesterday.
Run by the Darling Downs West Moreton Primary Health Network, the forum was designed to provide user-level feedback to direct future funding allocations.
Warwick Friendly Society Pharmacies general manager Ahmad Almesfer addressed the crowd and said making better use of primary care would lessen the burden on secondary or hospital care.
The need for greater patient transport opportunities was high on the agenda, with too many patients travelling hours for essential appointments.
The idea patients could be seen by specialists at home was another designed to ease the burden on the overstretched hospital system.
Warwick resident Shane Lewis is a community liaison officer for the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander unit of the Rural Clinical School for Queensland University, based at Toowoomba Hospital.
"There are many things across the board in Warwick that need attention," Mr Lewis said.
"The most important issue in my mind facing people in this community is the lack of a specialist diabetes podiatrist.
"Diabetes is a major concern within the community and the complications arising from that disease such as circulation problems and diabetic ulcers lead to infections, which in turn lead to far too may amputations, and not just within the ATSI community."
Carbal Medical Centre has a specialist podiatrist that comes to Warwick once a month but Mr Lewis said this was not enough.
"I'd like to see a diabetic foot manager based at the hospital to co-ordinate care for the large amount of diabetic patients in the community," he said.
Warwick Hospital director of nursing Anita Bolton said more robust after-hours services were needed.
"In a lot of cases, early intervention is key to people avoiding hospital admissions," Ms Bolton said.
"We also need to think about how the hospital can help the community - and one way is through tele-health, thinking of pain management and linking patients to specialists via telehealth rather than needing to travel long distances."