GP clinic needs support
It seems from Jo Hersey's letter (Katherine Times, October 14) she is firmly in step with the Government's questionable policy of regarding our private GPs' clinic as just another money-making business.
That attitude allows the Government to dodge any responsibility for the health care of the non-Indigenous residents of the town.
A GP's clinic is the only route for many of us to access primary health care, and I guess we expect that the Minister for Health would have a passing interest in ensuring that a town of around 11,000 people would have access to a viable GPs' clinic.
The Minister visited Katherine recently, in the week that the imminent closure of Gorge Health was front-page news, but did she visit the clinic to discuss the issue? Nope!
Isn't it time that the Government amended its policy of excluding GPs' clinics from the health network and acknowledged that they are somewhat more than just another private business?
In fact, they are an essential service and deserve a bit of support.
Government policy on health pretty much ensures that towns like Katherine will never have a viable primary health service for the non-Indigenous.
Doctors are only human, and most will do the human thing of following the money.
Here, that's in Indigenous health, which explains why Wurli has 9 doctors and Gorge Health can't attract even one extra.
Indigenous health offers very generous salaries, subsidised or free housing and transport, generous holidays and study leave and no responsibility for the administration costs of a clinic.
What's there not to prefer over being responsible for every cost, right down to the purchase of band aids - rent, staff wages, insurance, purchase of equipment and supplies, etc.
In reality, we're lucky we had two excellent GPs who remained loyal to the town for so long.
Shirley Crane, Katherine.
Police in schools
It's time Constable Dani is allowed back into the schools to continue the; impactful, positive, important and empowering work she does with young people.
Her return is long over due and well deserved.
She has fought for the betterment of the Katherine community for over 30 years and has dedicated her life to helping people.
She has had an overwhelming impact on this community for such a long time yet has never been praised or recognized for her tireless efforts.
I strongly believe a disservice is being done by not giving such an incredible women the time of day. Which deeply saddens me. I hope you can recognize her contributions and use your platform to help.
We have started a petition to help get her back as the school based constable in Katherine and we need your help.
Please help us get her back into the schools to continue having life changing impacts on young people.
Beau Thompson, Katherine.
A council and a clinic
To the Katherine Town Council, Jo Hersey has taken my concerns about the possible closure of Katherine's only private health clinic to the Chief Minister.
I thank Jo and commend her for doing this however I suspect that with her being a Country Liberal MLA and a Labor administration in the Territory, very little will happen. Being located south of the Berrimah line does not bode well for Katherine
Federally funded clinics provide health services free of charge for Indigenous citizens but not for others. This is government fostered racism.
A council member who works in the health industry maintained that the system is not discriminatory but is merely intended to improve the health standards of Indigenous citizens. While this is an admirable objective, it is being achieved to the detriment of others.
Another council member demonstrated a lack of concern for community members when saying that the closure of Gorge Health Clinic would not bother her as she would go to Darwin for medical appointments.
The imminent closure of Gorge Health has seen the NT Government scrambling to find a solution to the problem.
After all it would be a disgrace for a town the size of Katherine to be left without medical services for two thirds of its citizens.
Dependents of service personnel at Tindal are also reliant on Gorge Health so the matter would certainly be of concern for the Defence Department.
The NT Primary Health Network is presently investigating a short term solution for the problem. Katherine requires a long term solution.
The council has been remarkably quiet about the problem to date. While councils don't normally provide health services, they do realise it is an imperative for adequate health services to be available in any community. A lack of such services would be a liability for any community.
In remote area towns through Australia that have difficulty attracting medical practioners, councils frequently offer incentives to encourage doctors to relocate.
Considering the dire situation that this town now faces, would the Katherine Town Council be willing to offer incentives to encourage a doctor, or doctors, to live and practice their professions in Katherine.
Bruce Francais, Katherine.
Mental health support
I write from the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) to highlight that there is no question that across Australia, people's mental health conditions have escalated significantly.
It is due to fear, anxiety and social isolation. COVID-19 has hit the community very hard indeed.
What is very troubling is that 54% of people with a mental illness do not access any kind of treatment. Close to 7 in 10 of all GP presentations are now people with mental health issues.
That's where the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia comes in. We have a special hotline designed to help people work out where they can get help. It is a free service available to readers in your area. Readers should simply call 1800 985 944.
You can also get more information at www.minetworks.org.au.
Mental health issues need to be talked about more across the community. Close to half (45%) of all Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
It is now estimated a huge 3.8 million Australians live with a mental illness. 690,000 live with a severe mental illness.
We absolutely need to be investing more in services that help people with mental health issues. We must make it easier for people to access the help that is actually out there.
Our key message is reach out ... because there is help out there. Visit our website or call our hotline. It is why the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is there - to help.
Tony Stevenson, national CEO, MIFA.