The MPS project at Coolah focused on residential aged care beds and internal reconfiguration to improve functionality. It also included the relocation of 10 off-site beds to the Multipurpose Service.
Taking into account the health care needs of communities across regional and remote NSW, the key drivers for the development of Multipurpose Services relate to:
Communities best suited for a Multipurpose Service facility have insufficient catchment populations to sustain separate acute hospital, residential care, community health and home care services; generally from around 1,000 to 4,000 persons. The community of Coolah has a population 1,278 people.
Across NSW the population is expected to increase by over 27% by 2031. Many regional and remote communities however are expected to experience minimal population growth, population decline and or significant demographic changes over this period of time. The population of the Warrumbungle Local Government Area which includes the community of Coolah is estimated to reduce by over 11% by 2031.
This population is also changing – over this period the percentage of the population aged 70 years and over is expected to grow and therefore will make up an increasingly higher proportion of the total population (21%).
Coolah’s nearest neighbouring health care service is in Dunedoo, over 45 kilometres away; with the closest major regional centre of Dubbo 135km away.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics produces the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage. The index for NSW has a baseline of 1,000; a score above this indicates socio-economic advantage and a score below this indicates socio-economic disadvantage.
Higher levels of socio-economic disadvantage are associated with an increase in the proportion of the population who are at risk of poor health.
The community of Coolah has a Socio-Economic Index For Areas (SEIFA) score of 944 and is rated in the lowest 24 percentile in NSW.
The NSW Chief Health Officer’s Report 2010 identifies that people living in rural and remote areas have poorer health generally than those living in metropolitan areas.
In Coolah, 4% of the local population identify as Aboriginal (compared with 2.5% across NSW).
The Chief Health Officer’s Report 2012 highlights the need for continued investment in health services and the barriers faced by Aboriginal people.
There is a significant proportion of infrastructure in regional and remote communities which is old, functionally constrained, not able to respond to new and contemporary models of care, and which inhibits the potential for service integration and innovation to best meet the health care needs of the community.
Multipurpose Services work alongside other healthcare facilities to deliver the best healthcare possible.