The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) has drawn up a list of the top five priorities for health authorities across the region, with better access to mental health and addiction services deemed the most urgent need.

A Local Area Needs Assessment (LANA) involving health and population data analysis combined with a series of consultation meetings determined the most significant service gaps.

Better transport for health appointments, improved access to GPs, cultural safety for First Nations patients and the availability and capability of the health workforce rounded out the list.

Interestingly, a new hospital block in Cairns to increase the number of ward beds doesn’t feature.


CHHHS Acting Chief Executive Dr Jeremy Wellwood said almost 300 people gave input during meetings, while there were more than 940 responses from health providers and the community through online surveys.


“This important work also guides our resourcing decisions and our planning for programs or activities that support health needs into the future,” he said.

Construction on a new $70 million, 53-bed Cairns mental health unit is underway, after a substantial delay.

There’ll now be another round of consultations to share the results, with more feedback invited.

“Your views, as a health consumer or a health provider in our region are vital to this LANA process,” Dr Wellwood said.

“You can give us particular insight to inform our future planning, including emerging treatments, workforce needs, the efficiency and effectiveness of current service delivery models and opportunities for improvement, coordination and linkages between services to improve access to care for our community.

“Once we have consulted on our LANA findings to ensure we have accurately reflected the local needs, we will provide our findings to our staff, the community and health providers. “

“They will also continue to inform our future services planning.”

More information on the feedback sessions can be found here.


Main points

  • A list of 5 priorities for health services in the Cairns and Hinterland has been determined 
  • Mental health and addiction services are at the top of the list
  • Transport for appointments and better access to GPs are also included
Now that we have a list of needs, we want to make sure that we are on the right track.
Dr jeremy wellwood
CHHHS Acting Chief Executive