Welcome to our regular monthly column about the members of Young’s Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC).
Originally from Dubbo, Karen Blue and her husband moved to Young in 2013 taking over the reigns of Penrose Funerals. Karen says she is ‘privileged to support and guide families through the tough times’ in her role as Funeral Director. An active member of Young’s LHAC committee, Karen is passionate about ensuring access to adequate medical services.
Why did you join the LHAC? ‘I joined LHAC three years ago with two major goals: firstly to understand the local health services and secondly to be a voice for my community. Many of the families I deal with professionally have extensive involvement with our health services, and often share their experiences with me. I am ideally placed to gather this feedback and to share it through the LHAC forum. Being a conduit works both ways, as I can suggest available health services that clients and community members can tap into’.
What changes have you seen in services? ‘Primarily, I notice the enormous pressure on our current GP’s. Wait times for normal GP visits have blown out and it seems non-urgent cases wait months for an appointment. Many of these patients are then referred to the hospital ED, so the hospital’s doctors see many patients who should ideally be treated in GP centres. It is important for LHAC to continue working with the hospital on this issue.I am excited by the development of telehealth skype links allowing patients to consult remotely with specialists. If patients do need to travel for specialist appointments, Young is close to Wagga and Canberra and community transport is a valuable service. The recent restructure of the hospital manager’s position is an important change. We can move forward in confidence knowing Joanne Garlick has been appointed as Young Cluster Manager, and Wendy Dewar as Facility Manager.
What’s top of your wish list? ‘The development of a medical centre that allows for an increase in the number of GP’s and allied health services.’
Any areas of special interest? ‘Many of the families I deal with have loved ones who are elderly. I am especially interested in the mental wellbeing of our aged community, as well as support for their carers. Young’s aged-care facilities provide vital services, and I find the staff very willing to support family members and to share their resources.
Any activities you’d like to share? ‘I’d also like to encourage everyone to have their say in the MLHD Community Survey by December 31’.
Have your say online: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HLHDyourview