Cunnamulla Hospital’s Community Advisory Network (CAN) is getting ready for another successful year of community representation with a call for additional members.

Cunnamulla Hospital Director of Nursing and Facility Manager Tracey-lee Maher said community members who wanted to join the CAN should lodge their expressions of interest by Friday, 15 February.

“The Cunnamulla CAN has had a very successful year and is looking forward to continuing its strong community representation during 2019,’’ Mrs Maher said.

Cunnamulla CAN Chair Trish McKenzie said CANs created a platform for open communication between the health service and the community.

“Your needs are heard, and while the change you want doesn’t always happen immediately, it does if the request is reasonable,” she said.

“We have a wonderful hospital in Cunnamulla and the CAN plays an important role in representing the community’s needs to those who make decisions about the hospital’s future direction.

“We are a conduit between the two, ensuring the right information gets to the right people and action is taken when needed.”

Mrs McKenzie said the CANs at Cunnamulla and elsewhere provided the perfect opportunity for community members to get involved with the delivery of health services.

“Heath is something which impacts on all of us and it’s a privilege to be involved with the Cunnamulla CAN and be proactive in doing something for the community,” she said.

Some of the Cunnamulla CAN’s highlights over the past 12 months have been:

  • Horticulture traineeship – initiated by the CAN, with trainee Alex Woodcroft starting in the position in April 2018. The gardens and areas around the hospital have had a huge improvement and transformation thanks to his hard work since he started.

A range of hospital renovations the CAN helped identify and pursued:

  • New purpose-built kitchen in place
  • Relocated and purpose-built emergency department, with an increase in beds from one to two
  • Relocated and purpose-built built Nurse’s Station
  • Development of a multipurpose room
  • New patient lift at the front of the hospital
  • Upgrades to the morgue including air-conditioning and new bariatric morgue fridge
  • Demolition of old redundant buildings – boiler room, old laundry and old morgue
  • Upgrade to the nurses’ accommodation, with plans for new accommodation in 2019
  • Progression with improved access to visiting specialist services and patient travel subsidy
  • Attendance at the CAN Forum in St George to collaborate with South West Hospital and Health Service and consumers from around the entire region.

Mrs Maher said these were important achievements and the Cunnamulla CAN could be very proud of the work it had done since its establishment in early 2013.

All CAN positions are volunteer positions and members are expected to attend a meeting every second month.

“I urge Cunnamulla community members to take the opportunity to apply to join their CAN and help actively represent their community,’’ Mrs Maher said.

“I would like particularly to encourage more young mums or dads to consider joining the CAN and provide further representation for the young families in our area.

“We are also keen to encourage more Indigenous residents to put their hand up to join the CAN and represent their communities, as well as more members from rural properties.’’

Mrs Maher said the Cunnamulla CAN – along with all the South West Hospital and Health Service’s CANs – was a vital component of the health system.

“The purpose of the CANs is to provide a mechanism for consumer and community engagement with their local health facility and the health service generally,’’ she said.

“The CANs help identify the community’s health needs, allow information to be shared regarding service delivery and allow consumers and community to have input into the planning, development and delivery of public health services in their area.

“Through such a process, each health facility will receive ongoing broad community input into the development of services.

“CAN members also play many other important roles in their local health services.

“For instance, the CAN Chair sits on the recruitment panel for the directors of nursing and of their local health facility.

“They also act as conduits of information between their health service and the community.

“So, joining their local CAN is an excellent way for residents to become involved in helping guide the future service directions of their community’s health facility.’’

Current CAN community members at Cunnamulla are: Trish McKenzie (CAN Chair) and members Kerry Crumblin, Suzette Beresford, Chelsea Clayton, Rick Brain, Rachel Johnson, Sue Crick and Jackie Osborne.

• Information about the CAN and an application form to lodge an expression of interest to join the CAN may be obtained from the Administration Officer at Cunnamulla Hospital by phoning 4655 8100 or emailing: SWHHS-Cunnamulla_Admin@health.qld.gov.au

• Applications close on Friday, 15 February.

For further information contact:

James Guthrie

Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld

Media and Communication

Department of Health

(07) 3708 5379

Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au