Survey shows health gaps

MORE than 70 households in the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council area have been unable to access a health service locally in the past nine months according to a recent health and ageing survey.

The survey was part of the council’s Health and Ageing Project – a partnership with the Cummins District Community Bank Branch.

The council’s chief executive officer Rod Pearson said almost 30 per cent of households in the council area responded to the survey, which investigated the health and ageing needs of the district.

About 86 per cent of survey respondents said it was very or extremely important to have a GP service and an ambulance service as close to home as possible.

The need for aged care facilities, specialist services, allied health services – like physiotherapy and occupational therapy – and mental health services were also important.

The survey results also indicated the residents in Cummins and Coffin Bay wanted better access to health services like physiotherapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, massage, yoga and pilates and gym and fitness programs.

“Some households would also like more access to these services in North Shields and Louth Bay,” Mr Pearson said.

Health and Ageing Project officer Kaye Ferguson said waiting periods for mental health services were the biggest issue, with a 12-week wait for initial appointments.

Ms Ferguson said people also reported waiting times of 12-18 months to see ear, nose and throat specialists and dermatologists and 140 households in Cummins, 82 in Coffin Bay and 15 near Port Lincoln wanted day-centre respite services.

“With retirement-style living, respondents wanted a range of options in major townships so that as their needs change they can downsize from larger homes to more manageable individual units or residential aged care facilities,” she said.

The full results of the survey will be included in a report to be released early next year and it will form part of the council’s business plan for meeting the health and ageing needs of residents.