Health, transport raised as Millicent priorities

ISSUES CANVASSED: COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared, COTA South East representative Bruce Clayson and COTA Country Programs officer Helen Morley toured the region this week as part of a listening post tour for older residents.

By Raquel Mustillo

HEALTH services and a lack of transport options were highlighted as the two most pressing issues affecting older people in Millicent at a recent listening post tour.

The state’s peak body for older people COTA SA travelled across the region this week to meet with senior citizens about their experience of living in a regional community.

COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared said Millicent participants had raised mobility issues and increased transport needs as a high priority.

“There’s not a lot of great transport available for people, so if you live out of town, there’s no alternative but driving,” she said.

“The Red Cross bus is really good for people who are eligible, but not everyone is.

“The Patient Assisted Transport Scheme (PATS) was also raised as an issue, there’s limited choice and GPs and specialists are not proactive enough about telling patients about the scheme.”

Country Programs officer Helen Morley said health and hospital services was also a concern for Millicent respondents, with some residents reporting a six week wait for GPs.

“One lady raised the issue about the hospital having fly in, fly out doctors as well as the loss of obstetrics and the effect that has on young families who want to move here,” she said.

“Because people who are pregnant or need medical attention have are transferred via ambulance to Mount Gambier, they are more likely to move to Mount Gambier than Millicent.

“Waiting to see GPs was also an issue, when you want to see your own GP it might take six weeks and then you have to go to the locum to get your script filled.

“It’s very important to be able to have the ability to see your own doctor when you need to because they know your history, your chronic health conditions and you feel comfortable with them.”

Following the Millicent session, Ms Mussared and Ms Morley travelled to Mount Gambier, Naracoorte and Keith to discuss issues affecting populations across the Limestone Coast.

Ms Mussared said the organisation will use the feedback received on the regional tour to advocate for and represent regional areas when running programs and lobbying State and Federal Government.