High unemployment contributing to CQ’s health woes

UnemploymentRockhampton doctor Hilary Mercer has spoken out about health issues in Central Queensland linking them to the region’s high rate of unemployment.

Dr Mercer shares his thoughts in a letter to the editor, which he has penned in response to a Morning Bulletin health report which showed a dire outlook for Rockhampton residents as compared to their Brisbane counterparts.

The Bulletin report was part of a Fair Go For Regional Australia campaign.

The “shocking CQ death rate” reported in the Bulletin needs to be put into perspective.

There are indeed increased incidences of obesity, smoking, alcoholism and suicide but readers should be made aware that this is much the same in other regional areas of the state compared with Brisbane.

There is an inference that if only we had improved health services, all would be well.

That is far from the case.

The problem is not a medical one but a social one in the form of a higher rate of unemployment.

Whether from disability, inability or sheer laziness, long term unemployment results in an increase in all the aforementioned conditions and it so happens that social recipients form a far greater percentage of the population in regional areas compared with the capital.

We could have a hospital on every street corner and make absolutely no difference to these statistics regardless of the noise made by social engineers.

Education is often touted as the answer to the problem but the truth is that every obese person knows they eat too much and every smoker and alcoholic understands the implications of their habit.

The things that will improve these statistics are to accept the unfashionable notion that the individual himself has to make life changing decisions, stronger efforts made to get people off social services and into employment (every doctor knows many people who could work but who choose not to) and perhaps the introduction of the unpopular idea that social services recipients should be given a credit card rather than cash which forbids the purchase of cigarettes, alcohol, gambling and maybe even fast foods.

The idea being that such “luxuries” should be earned rather than be available via the taxpayer.

It is ironic that on the same page of the Bulletin is a feature about the difficulty in accessing dental services.

One measure that would decrease the need for dental services would be to introduce fluoridation which Brisbane has but is forbidden by our city council because of the bleatings of the same sort of people who probably also don’t believe in childhood immunisation.

Never mind the advice of medical and dental authorities in all first world counties or that of the World Health Organisation. To read more click here.

The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 1-2 December 2016 in Brisbane. To express your interest in the Conference CLICK HERE.