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Planning a healthier future for Magnetic Island

Published 21 April 2021

It’s important that small rural and remote communities have access to safe and sustainable health services to ensure residents receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Magnetic Island image

While Magnetic Island is only eight kilometres off the coast of Townsville, it is only accessible by commercial water ferry and vehicle barge in calm weather and by helicopter in rough weather.

The Island’s current health care services include one general practice and a nurse-led health service, which could present a problem for residents and visitors if access to these services were disrupted or terminated.

In 2020, Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) and Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) commissioned Central Queensland Rural Health (CQRH) to utilise their expertise and experience to develop a future-orientated strategic health plan, called the Magnetic Island Health Services Plan (the Plan).

By October 2020, a steering committee was established to oversee the planning and governance of the project, with representatives from NQPHN, THHS, Retrieval Services Queensland, CQRH, Townsville City Council, Magnetic Island Medical Practice, Magnetic Island Health Service, Magnetic Island Pharmacy, and the Magnetic Island Community Action Network.

Once completed, the document will provide a clear direction for the provision of sustainable health services and improved continuity of care on the island for the next ten years.

What is a health services plan?

The purpose of the Magnetic Island Health Services Plan is to improve the delivery, access, and quality of health services provided on the island, ensuring they meet the current and future health needs of the community. This includes reviewing how existing health services meet health needs and identifying more effective applications of health resources to better support residents to live happier, healthier, longer lives.

The Plan will support healthcare providers with:

  • health improvement outcomes
  • increasing and changing demand for health services 
  • emerging trends in health service delivery 
  • new policy initiatives and directions. 

Outcomes of the Plan to include:*

  • achievable, cost effective solutions
  • coordination of services
  • increased access to health services and articulate strategies for the future, including a map for future health service planning
  • a planning manual and templates to be used in other rural and remote communities.

*Note: The Plan does not guarantee funding.

Development stages of the plan

There are six key steps to health service planning.

1. Understand the population and environment
Identify and analyse the Magnetic Island population, health status, and current health services activity data.

2. Identify health service needs
Compare our data with information that community and health professionals have provided.

3. Assess health service needs
Analyse the health service needs of Magnetic Island, within the context of the available workforce, economic factors, and technology.

4. Priortise actions for the future
Identify partnerships and prioritise sustainability, attaining commitment from stakeholders, and develop a process to involve other local health service providers.

5. Identify future service needs
Identify the health services that will be needed in the future, who will provide them, and who will access them.

6. Develop and endorse the Plan (current stage)
Compile the findings and proposed solutions into a draft Plan, including time frames, goals, and processes for a review of health services.

Next step

Magnetic Island residents and health care professionals are invited to provide feedback on the draft Magnetic Island Health Services Plan.

NQPHN and THHS are hosting two public forums, as well as one-on-one and small group consultations, where you will have the opportunity to hear and provide feedback on the key health needs identified by Magnetic Island residents and health care professionals.

 Image removed.

For more information on the public consultations, download the event flyer or contact Central Queensland Rural Health on (07) 4992 1040 or by email at

To register online, click here. Registrations close Tuesday 4 May 2021.

Priority areas

The below nine identified priority areas will be discussed at the public forums, including recommendations and targets for each priority area for the next one, five, and 10-years.

  1. Aged care services.
  2. Palliative care.
  3. Patient transfers.
  4. Lack of awareness of local services.
  5. Access to affordable services.
  6. Early childhood.
  7. Antenatal/postnatal.
  8. Chronic disease.
  9. Mental health.

Last updated: 27 April 2021