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Burdekin CAN unites voices on healthcare

Published:  31 March 2021

A community group to improve healthcare in the Burdekin has met for the first time. 

The Community Advisory Network (CAN) includes Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin, ambulance and police service representatives, Ayr and Home Hill Health Services medical superintendent Dr Ben Lawry and directors of nursing Tracey Gabiola and Lorraine Dempsey and local residents with experience in business, education and community services. 

CAN Chair Dr Kaylee Boccalatte, who is a councillor on the Burdekin Shire Council, said the CAN would meet monthly and work in partnership with the Townsville Hospital and Health Service to ensure local healthcare reflected community needs.

 “The best way to do this is to bring together voices in our community to speak on behalf of the people living in the Burdekin who use local healthcare services,” she said. 

“The current standard of services provided in Ayr and Home Hill is very good, but we know we can always improve as our community evolves. 

“As Chair, I also have a seat on the Townsville Hospital and Health Service Consumer Advisory Council so I’m focussed on taking priority needs for the Burdekin back to this council, which has a line of sight to the Townsville Hospital and Health Board, to ensure they receive due attention.” 

Kaylee said she was encouraged by the diversity of the CAN. 

“There is a good mix of professionals, local businesspeople and long-standing Burdekin community members,” she said. 

“This will allow the network to approach the same problems from different perspectives and allow for healthy discussion to get the best outcome for the community we are representing.” 

Ayr Health Service director of nursing Tracey Gabiola said the establishment of the CAN would lead to better, safer and stronger care. 

“The CAN already has good insights into the healthcare in the Burdekin and I’m looking forward to tapping into their insight,” she said. 

“Everything we do is about looking after our community, so it is important that the users of healthcare are involved in shaping the care we provide.”

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