Cherbourg Health Plan Portrait

*This article is a supplement linked by a QR code to the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Community Newsletter “2023-24 Summer Edition” published in February 2024

This January marks the second anniversary of the Cherbourg Health Council.

Did you know that the Health Council has been tirelessly advocating for the health and well-being of the Cherbourg community? It’s incredible to see such dedicated Community Members working towards a common goal and positively impacting the lives of so many people.

The Health Council meets every month to discuss health concerns the community raises and advocates and lobbies for changes in health services. Mayor Elvie Sandow, Deputy Mayor Tom Langton, Councillor Leighton Costello, Councillor Bronwyn Murray, Councillor Fred Cobbo, Uncle Frank Malone, and Alex Speedy are all community members who lend a listening ear to the community. They provide feedback to health services on how improvements can be made to ensure that the people of Cherbourg can live longer and healthier lives.

During the COVID pandemic, the Council recognised the importance of community involvement in delivering health services. The Council led the health response and partnered with health services to protect the community from COVID-19. This was achieved by improving vaccination rates, providing coordinated care for vulnerable individuals, and delivering emergency support packages for those in quarantine.

The development of the Cherbourg Health Plan was initiated to focus on health priorities in Cherbourg. It allowed the Cherbourg Health Council to advocate for better health services and establish partnerships with providers. As a result, numerous improvements have been implemented to improve the people’s health in Cherbourg.

The Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart Program is a good example of community-led initiatives. The Public Health Unit expressed concerns to the Cherbourg Health Council about the connection between skin health and heart health in children. The Council supported the initiative, and screening and treatment were carried out. As a result, the number of skin sores in the community and children was significantly reduced, and young adults with rheumatic heart disease received proper care.

The Cherbourg Health Council has advocated for several new initiatives to improve the health of the people in Cherbourg.

These initiatives include:

  • Establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer service at Cherbourg Hospital.
  • Advocated for the Cherbourg Hospital Emergency waiting room upgrade.
  • Advocated for the Hearing Health Screening catchups.
  • Advocated for the continuation of immunisation services in Cherbourg.
  • Creating an alternative complaints process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders consumers, which is now used across the Darling Downs Health region.
  • Organising health promotion programs like the Healthy Heart, Healthy Skin International Legends of League
  • Establishment of the transport officer position at Cherbourg Hospital
  • Establishing the Chronic Disease and Preventative Health Clinic at Cherbourg Health Service to reduce waiting times in Cherbourg Hospital ED
  • Improving sexual health services and collaborating with health agencies.
  • Coordinating Health Agencies to improve the responsiveness and coordination of individuals who are sniffing.
  • Working closely with the Queensland Mental Health Commission to improve the delivery of Mental Health Services in Cherbourg
  • Developing a Cherbourg Cultural Capability program for all agencies to complete when working in Cherbourg.
  • National award for excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care
  • Community representation on interview panels at the Cherbourg Health Service
  • National and state recognition in community-led co-design in health.

Improving health in Cherbourg requires community-led changes. The Cherbourg Health Council serves as a voice for the community and remains committed to its efforts.