Grampians Health soon-to-be chief strategy and regions officer (CSRO) said he will strive to improve health outcomes for people living and working in the region as well as aim to tackle health care worker shortages.
Dr Rob Grenfell, who grew up in the Grampians region and will start his role as CSRO on May 30, said change is very much needed especially when it comes to addressing the staggering difference in life expectancy in the regions compared to metro areas.
"It's sobering that a man in the Grampians region can expect four less years of life than the average across Victoria; we have started to employ some epidemiologists who have been doing some analysis of death rates in our region versus other parts of Victoria," Dr Grenfell said.
Dr Grenfell said Grampians Health had only employed one epidemiologist however, he said there were future plans to bring in more.
"We will definitely be bolstering that team with the idea to use the incredible power that epidemiology well developed can actually bring to allow us to understand what is going on because the community needs to know things are changing."
Dr Grenfell said a collaborative approach between community and government was required to address a decline in regional health care workers.
"Enticing health workers to work outside the major centres in the whole of Australia, that's been a problem and one I've seen on face for my whole career," Dr Grenfell said during a media conference on Tuesday.
"We have a workforce crisis across the whole of our region but particularly in our region, so one thing from a Grampians Health perspective we need is firm, effective and supportive policy, both from a federal and state level to assist us in providing excellent and quality health care across our region.
"We also need to roll out a valet service because we learned that with general practice back in the 90s, to get GPs (to the regions), we had to make sure that everything was lined up.
"How do we support their families in the sense of schooling and childcare? and most importantly, we have to ensure we have adequate housing across the region for people to stay in because if we can get some significantly talented clinicians to come out in a number of specialty areas, they will attract more junior staff behind them."
Dr Grenfell said his long term goal for Grampians Health is to ensure their practice provides equitable access to health for all living in the region.
"Key to this is ensuring our staff and community understand that we are a regional organisation; we will not be focusing or centralising our work to one particular area but ensuring that people in the Grampians region have equitable access to health no matter which of our locations they attend," he said.
"We need to have a combined force to actually support and develop a very innovative and also supportive health system for our region. So the vision is, at the end of a period of three to five years, to be able to look back and say, right, we've started the ball rolling on the building blocks to make sure that this will actually happen."
Dr Grenfell is one of 11 members comprising Grampians Health senior management team.
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