Health care is an economic mainstay of the Toowoomba region, contributing around $1.6 billion to our regional economy and accounting for one in five jobs in our fair city. That’s why I was delighted to welcome the regional health minister, Dr David Gillespie, to our region last week. It was a vote of confidence in and a recognition of our reputation as a health hub. Our local hospitals and health services not only care for Toowoomba’s growing population but for our communities well into western Queensland and even down into northern New South Wales—and I send a shout-out to my family in Warialda, who always come to Toowoomba hospitals for their care.
It was great to introduce Dr Gillespie to the heads of our major hospitals and key representatives from aged-care and medical-training courses. These local leaders were able to share some of the opportunities and challenges facing our region, particularly in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce. I thank the minister for listening and for announcing a $2 million boost to Southern Queensland Rural Health, to support allied health students to undertake placements at Goondir Health Services in St George.
This will get more students out of Brisbane classrooms and into the bush, building up the health team around our hardworking GPs, who will also see their numbers bolstered through a recent change to our DPA status. That was very hard-fought for, and won, by local clinics. This is excellent recognition of Toowoomba’s role in providing a hub-and-spoke model of health care that supports patients to live their best and healthiest lives in our regional communities.
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