CQ Medicare Local’s Rod Boddice tells us about the partnership between Qld Health and CQUniversity that he was involved in…
Qld Health (and myself as their representative at the time) has been a member of the liveWELL CQ (CHIC then CQPCP) partnership since its inception in 2007. Back then we could very much see the value in working together to try influence changes to the primary care system to ensure that it was meeting the needs of community.
A solution needed to be found for the longstanding problem of recruiting allied health practitioners to Central Queensland regional and rural centres with variable success. The area was reliant on educational institutions in other parts of the State and Australia to generate its allied health workforce, often with limited results and at considerable recruitment costs to organisations.
A local initiative to establish an allied health student-led chronic diseases clinic in Rockhampton but on behalf of the region was developed by Kerrie-Anne Frakes of Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) and funded by the Queensland Department of Health. It aimed to provide final-year allied health students of various disciplines and from universities across Australia with clinical placements that exposed them to regional Queensland and fostered a longer term interest in regional and rural practice after graduation.
The initiative drew increasing interest from inter-state students to participate in the placement program. However, it was realised that a real change in recruitment outcomes and achieving a more sustainable solution to the allied health workforce required a ‘grow our own’ model of student placements in Central Queensland.
It was at a CQPCP meeting that I met Professor Graham Pegg who brought a two-pronged vision: develop courses for allied health practitioners at CQUniversity so that local young people could study and pursue valued careers close to home; and build a state of the art facility that enabled the education, training and development of allied health practitioners in and for Central Queensland.
Whilst the concept was not often discussed at the CQPCP partnering table, the enabling nature of the partnership influenced the emergence of this opportunity.
Transformational partnering is very much where you know the problem (in this case, not enough allied health professionals in the region and new allied health university programs about to commence) but not the solution.
The partnership and relationship that grew from the need to find a solution to the original problem has realised so much for Central Queenslanders. There have been more people involved than Kerrie-Anne and Graham and more organisations than CQHHS and CQUniversity. The number of beneficiaries of the solution cannot not be measured.
This initiative has built positive relationships, leadership and trust and the knowledge that a problem is best solved by many minds and decision-makers with a passion for change and sustainable outcomes.