Wednesday, 23rd June, 2010
The Outback Family Practice will run an after-hours GP clinic in Broken Hill after receiving $100,000 in funding from the Federal Government. The clinic will begin operating on Monday and will help ease the workload from the impending closure of the after-hours clinic operating at the hospital. “The contract we signed with the Department of Health and Ageing is for $100,000 over two years to run an after-hours clinic for our practice,” said the co-owner and director of the practice, Dr Ros Menzies. “The money is to go towards the receptionist wages and ... toward the doctors’ salaries as an incentive,” Dr Menzies said yesterday. The funding allocation comes just one week before the hospital’s after-hours clinic is due to close. That clinic, which has run on the weekends for the past two years, will close next Wednesday due to a shortage of staff. The Riverina Division of General Practice’s chief executive officer, Nancy Piercy, said last month that local GPs had not been willing to staff the clinic. But Dr Menzies said her co-owner and director Dr Funmi Komolafe and the four other general practitioners at the Outback Family Practice would be more motivated to work the extra hours given it was for their own practice. “We’ve all been really, really working hard anyway and it was really difficult to contemplate (working at the afterhours clinic),” she said. “(But) we’ve made the commitment, it’s our own practice, we are used to the systems, we’ll have a nurse most of the time - it’s more functional. “You’re not picking yourself up and going into a new environment.” Dr Menzies said the work burden would be eased for doctors working late because they would begin their shifts in the afternoon. She said GPs from other practices in town would be welcome to work on the roster. The after-hours clinic will operate from Monday to Friday from 6pm to 9pm and will be for emergency GP-type complaints like children with sore throats or other non-life threatening emergencies. Duty Senator for Farrer, Mark Arbib, yesterday welcomed the funding by the Minister for Health Nicola Roxon. “The Government’s investment will make it easier for the community to find a doctor after hours,” Senator Arbib said. “Good primary care in local communities means people stay healthier, manage chronic disease and illness more effectively, and stay out of hospital. “The Government’s General Practice After Hours Program is helping to build and strengthen after-hours care by general practitioners across Australia.” Appointments can be made by calling the clinic on 80887044.