Health report confirms gap

Published on Wednesday, 17 January 2024 at 10:02:57 AM

Increased medical appointment availability, lower out of pocket expenses and services closer to home have been revealed as top priorities by the Murray community in the region’s first-ever Health and Social Needs Analysis.

The 62-page report is the culmination of significant research that provides the Shire of Murray with independent, robust data about current and future needs for health services in the area.

“The Health and Social Needs Analysis explores population growth, lifestyle risk factors, health care demand, and community demographics to make seven recommendations that will address a health and wellness gap in Murray,” said Shire of Murray President, David Bolt.

Thirty-seven per cent of Murray residents have a long-term health condition, 51.8 per cent live with obesity, 28 per cent have high blood pressure and 14.8 per cent have high or very high psychological distress1.

“As part of the research, we invited the community to have a say. Worryingly, only 35.3 per cent of survey respondents said they could always get access to health care when needed,” added Mr Bolt.

Adding to the burden of disease is a higher prevalence of a number of lifestyle risk factors, including 40.2 per cent of adults consuming more than two standard drinks on any day, 29 per cent eating fast food weekly and 45.1 per cent undertaking insufficient physical activity1.

“The report has identified that Murray’s rapidly growing, and ageing population, needs better integrated health services and improved access to them,” added Mr Bolt.

“In many cases, people living in Murray have to travel outside of the district to receive critical services such as emergency care, chemotherapy, renal dialysis, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, to name a few.

“There is an increased need for urgent medical and GP care, preventative health programs, mental health services, older people’s services, family and children support, youth services and support.

“Our task now is to take the findings of the report and develop a business case that details the required strategies and infrastructure to address the issue. We are currently seeking a suitable supplier to complete this work and once complete, we will present it to government for consideration,” Mr Bolt added.

The Murray Region Health and Social Needs Analysis was undertaken by the Murray Health Futures Committee. Established by the Shire of Murray, and includes representatives from the Shire, South Metropolitan Health Service, WA Primary Health Alliance and Peel Development Commission.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editor

Some key facts within the Murray Region Health and Social Needs Analysis include:

  • In 2022/23 there were 8,077 presentations made to emergency departments by people lining in the Shire of Murray. The majority presented to Peel Health Campus (76.5), followed by Fiona Stanley Hospital (5.4%) and Rockingham General Hospital (5.3%).2
  • In 2022/23, there was a total of 15,099 outpatient appointments attended by 3,018 Shire of Murray residents in public health facilities. The disciplines most attended were orthopaedics, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.2
  • According to a community survey undertaken by the Shire of Murray, only 35.3% of respondents could always get access to health care when needed.2
  • When asked to select from a list of options related to improving access to health care, participants of the survey identified the following as those which would help the local Murray community to better access health care services:
    • More available appointments (74%)2
    • Evening or weekend appointments (53.4%)2
    • Lower out of pocket costs (50%)2
    • Services closer to where I live (34.8%)2
    • Multiple services in the same location (31.4%).2
  • 37% of Murray residents have a long-term health issue, compared to 30% in Greater Perth.1
  • 39.5% of adults drink alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm, compared to 34.4% in WA.1
  • 13.8% smoke, compared to 11% in WA.1
  • 45.1% adults are not sufficiently physically active, compared with 41% in WA.1
  • 51.8% of adults live with obesity, compared with 34.5% in WA.1
  • 28% adults have high blood pressure, compared with 22% in WA.1
  • 8% of adults have high or very high psychological distress, compared with 10.4% in WA.1
  • Murray’s population is expected to grow by 9% every five years and projected to reach 21,610 people by 2031.2
  • 24.1% of the Murray population is over the age of 65 years.2
  • Murray is ranked 42nd most disadvantaged area out of 139 Local Government Areas in WA.2

1Shire of Murray Health and Wellbeing Profile 2023

2Murray Region Health and Social Needs Analysis

Murray Shire Council Community profile (

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