A long time ago, Izaak Walton said that health is “a blessing that money cannot buy.” We have, however, spent a great deal of money and come a very long way in health care since the seventeenth century, with incredible advances in medicine and greatly improved delivery and access to services.
But not everyone in our small part of the world finds that medical care is as accessible as it should be. In fact, many Bowen residents are obliged to travel to the mainland to receive primary health care. This is not just an inconvenience for a limited number of residents. It is in fact putting many islanders, particularly seniors and the very young, at unnecessary risk.
We are fortunate to have the excellent care provided by Dr. Suzanne Schloegl, the only family physician who lives and works on Bowen. She cannot, however, be expected to look after our more than 3,400 full-time residents, not to mention the “summer people” and visitors. Our doctor-patient ratio puts us on par with Madagascar and just a bit better than Bangladesh.
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