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Thursday Island’s new Community Wellness Centre opened Supplied by Office of the Member for Cook 30 November 2013

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avid Kempton, Member for Cook, officially opened the new Community Wellness Centre on Thursday Island. Mr Kempton was joined by various local leaders and community members for the CWC who came out in force to applaud the opening of the much-needed facility. “Our Government is hugely committed to improving health care for resident in the Torres Strait and throughout the Northern Peninsula,” he said. “That is why we have funded the bulk of the $39 million project with a contribution of $1.76 million from the Commonwealth which we are very grateful for.” Mr Kempton said the centre would not only improve the quality of life of those suffering from a chronic disease but also support a focus on prevention and education. “There is no doubt living with chronic diseases like diabetes puts a huge strain on patients and their families,” he said. “With around Torres Strait people living with kidney disease, access to treatment and prevention education must be a major priority.” Mr Kempton said the new CWC would provide a centre of resources to help address and treat conditions like diabetes and kidney problems. “There is also new nine-chair satellite dialysis unit to provide critical dialysis treatment for patients close to home. “I understand the current plan is to start with about three chairs in operation and then build up gradually to the full current ninechair capacity as demand grows.

Charlotte Tamwoy with David Kempton. Image supplied

“Capacity also has been built in for the future as the unit has room to expand to 12 chairs if eventually needed.” “The new Thursday Island unit will ensure that many renal patients in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula who require nurseassisted dialysis no longer need to move to Cairns or elsewhere for regular treatment. “They will be able to have their treatment on Thursday Island. “In fact, some medically-suitable patients from the region who are currently receiving dialysis in Cairns may be able to return to Thursday Island to receive their treatment closer to home.” He said the Community Wellness Centre would help address the inequality that existed between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Queenslanders. “Some of the greatest inequalities

are in the health area and we all know the grim statistics,’’ he said. “The Health of Queenslanders 2012, the Fourth Report of the Chief Health Officer, states the burden of diabetes among Indigenous Australians is 4.7 times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians. “The report also shows that the life expectancy for Indigenous Queensland males was 68.3 years and for females 73.6 years in 2005–2007, compared to 78.6 years and 82.5 years for non-Indigenous Queenslanders.” “The delivery of the CWC is part of the State Government’s Closing the Gap strategy. “It’s also part of the State Government’s commitment to bringing quality healthcare services to remote communities and reducing the need for patients and their families to travel to distant, major hospitals.”

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Thursday island’s new community wellness centre opened