THE Central Highlands region is sick – very sick.
A recent survey showed the region’s rates compared poorly to the rest of Victoria for several health indicators, including rates of respiratory disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and avoidable deaths due to cancer.
The research was carried out by Grampians Medicare Local, and included statistical data and feedback from 190 consumer and service providers.
An area breakdown shows, in an average week in the Central Highlands region, 6 per
cent of the population are over 65, 19 people are admitted to hospital for diabetes, 10 to 11 people are admitted for dental conditions and seven to eight people will be put in hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A further 239 people delay seeking medical attention, 194 put off buying prescribed medication, 117 experience health service access difficulties and 1390 people experience transport problems.
The hospital emergency departments also treat 1008 people weekly.
Grampians Medicare Local chief executive officer Andrew McPherson said the ageing population and social disadvantage in the region’s large areas played a significant role in the findings.
“We undertook this research to enable us to plan priorities for the future to ensure that we were tackling the most significant healthcare needs in the community,” Mr McPherson said.
The research also showed 4364 people over 18 drink at risky levels, 22 per cent of the population smokes, 17.3 per cent of women are obese, 19.3 per cent of men are overweight and 38 per cent of people aged over 18 have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor.
Other areas where the Central Highlands compared poorly to the rest of the state were mental health and behavioural issues, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The Courier will publish a special report tomorrow.