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Council may get centre

Thursday, 5th May, 2011

Proposed GP Super Clinic site talks 

One of the sites identified to house the Federal Government's multi-million dollar GP Super Clinic could change hands before the funding is granted.

In December last year when he took up an invitation to apply for the $7 million Super Clinic, local GP Dr Ramu Nachiappan identified the Centre for Community as his preferred location.

The Centre, in Beryl Street, is currently owned and managed by Broken Hill Community Inc.

In a confidential discussion at its monthly meeting last night, City Council resolved to immediately progress talks with Community Inc to have the Beryl Street facility given to Council.

"Council resolved to raise community awareness about endeavoring to retain the Community Inc building and facility in community ownership and also to discuss further with Community Inc the possibility of returning or gifting the premises to Council for future management and operation," Council's general manager Frank Zaknich said.

He said if the building changed hands before a decision on the GP Super Clinic funding was made, Council considered that a legitimate community use.

"The GP Super Clinic is a community use, individual doctors surgeries aren't," Mr Zaknich said.

Meanwhile the city remained in the dark over the outcome of the GP Super Clinic funding.

Five months after local GPs were given an invitation to apply the city was no closer to knowing if the money would be granted, who would receive it and when work would begin on establishing the new facility.

At last night's April meeting Councillors also recommended that City Council write to the Minister for Health expressing concern over the apparent delay in the assessment process.

Mr Zaknich said thus far responses on the matter had been less than desirable.

"We're not aware of the progress so I think we as key stakeholders, for Council, the bidding partners, Community Inc, the community should be aware of where those processes are up to," he said.

"People are basing decision in terms of service provision, buildings, access on that determination so the sooner we know about that progress the better.

"(We want) something more than the generic response we get every time we write."

The Federal Government last year identified Broken Hill as one of 64 locations around Australia in need of an upgrade to their medical facilities.

Dr Nachiappan also felt Council's frustrations.

"We have not had any contact regarding the progress of this application," Dr Nachiappan said last week.

"We have not been notified as to the date it will be made public, nor the number of applicants that the Government has received for the Broken Hill tender. 

"I hear endless rumours, however the community of Broken Hill including my patients and I are in the dark as to what the status of the GP super clinic application is."

Dr Nachiappan said the city "needed" the Super Clinic.

"It is in the community of Broken Hill's interest to have a sooner rather than later answer from Canberra, so we as a community can go forward with our local health needs."

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