Incoming Queensland Government must be prepared for big health challenges ahead – physicians

October 28, 2020

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has released its top six priorities for the incoming Queensland Government ahead of the 31 October election.

The RACP’s Queensland election priorities are outlined in the RACP Queensland Election Statement – and span across the issues of physician health and wellbeing, alcohol and drug law reform, addressing silicosis disease, and improving the aged care sector in QLD.

Chair of the RACP Queensland Regional Committee, Professor Nick Buckmaster, said “The incoming Queensland Government will face enormous challenges in the years ahead.

“The incoming Government must navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the health and economic challenges the pandemic creates. We must ensure there are zero occupationally acquired health care worker infections.

Additionally there are an array of other health issues that must be addressed in the next term of Parliament.

“This includes urgently supporting the wellbeing of the specialist and trainee medical workforce.

“We have long known that junior doctors report high rates of burnout, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Our members see this phenomenon first-hand.

“All RACP’s Queensland trainee physicians and paediatricians are simultaneously engaged in postgraduate specialist medical training and work in the state’s health system, in over 60 accredited training locations state-wide.

“If a Victorian-style outbreak were to happen here, we need to know that we are fully prepared to protect our health workforce.”

Recommendations for the incoming Queensland Government include:

  • Prioritise improving trainee and physician health and wellbeing, positive workplace culture and working conditions for trainees and physicians.
  • Develop detailed plans to ensure there are zero occupationally acquired health care worker infections in Queensland.
  • Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcoholic beverages as a key mechanism to reduce harmful drinking. View the RACP’s alcohol fact sheet.
  • Commit to develop a long term state-wide strategy for the provision of geriatric and related services in Queensland, mapped to need, covering hospital and community settings.

Professor Buckmaster added, “Now is not the time to constrain funding for the care of older people and those with chronic diseases engaging with our health services. We need to value the health services physicians work in, and the expertise and experience those physicians contribute.

“We are ready to work with the incoming government to optimise the Queensland health system so it continues to operate at a world-class level, delivering good health outcomes in a sustainable way that works well for patients and physicians alike.”

Find out more information about the RACP’s election priorities.

Experts are available to provide media comment on these issues.

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