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Still waiting

Thursday, 4th August, 2011

Frustration over the lack of progress regarding Broken Hill’s GP Super Clinic continued to build yesterday with the Rural Doctor’s Association of Australia (RDAA) calling on the Government to finalise its plans for the city.

Applications to house the GP Super Clinic closed on December 21 last year, with two local health providers, Nachiappan Surgery and Outback Family Practice, submitting tenders.

There are now 31 GP Super Clinics in operation across Australia, yet Broken Hill is still awaiting an announcement as to who will provide the clinic.

RDAA President Dr Paul Mara said the ongoing delay left tendering health providers with their hands tied in regard to future plans for their practices.

Outback Family Practice co-owner Dr Ros Menzies has previously lamented that plans to expand her business had to be put on hold until the GP Super Clinic decision was finalised.

“We would urge them to make an announcement soon and end the uncertainty,” said Dr Mara.

“The practitioners in Broken Hill are willing to put in the time and investment and they should be supported.

“They can’t employ more staff, they can’t get more doctors, there needs to be some certainty.

“Broken Hill is very isolated medically and needs all the support it can get to get doctors out there.”

Dr Mara also questioned why Super Clinics were being opened in metropolitan areas that already had adequate health providers.

The Australian Medical Association expressed concern last month that Super Clinics established in such well-serviced areas would result in staff shortages and needless competition between the super clinics and existing practices.

A super clinic was opened in Adelaide last year with no GP’s on staff, while super clinics in Queanbeyan and Hobart have recently opened despite offering no more staff than the practices they replaced.

“I think that’s the case in a lot of areas, there’s a pre-supposed medical workplace shortage, but then they have trouble filling them,” said Dr Mara.

“Just because you build a Taj Mahal doesn’t mean you’re going to get an Indian princess to work there.

“If anyone needs the (Super Clinics), it’s the remote areas like Broken Hill.”

 

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