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Medical marvel

Monday, 13th April, 2015

After months of construction Maari Ma’s new primary health care service in Argent Street will open soon. After months of construction Maari Ma’s new primary health care service in Argent Street will open soon.

By Andrew Robertson

The region’s largest Aboriginal health care provider says its clients will now have a primary health care facility “equal if not better” to anything found in a capital city.

Work on Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation’s new purpose-designed and built premises in Argent Street is complete and staff are expected to begin working from there this week.

Part-funded by state and federal governments, the new digs will house Maari Ma’s primary health care services and clinics which are currently delivered from a converted former pub across the road.

CEO Bob Davis said last year that Maari Ma’s growing number of primary health care programs meant that building was no longer suitable for service delivery.

Mr Davis last week said the new facility, which has been years in the planning, would cater to an increasing number of clients accessing Maari Ma’s range of services.

He said the building project went smoothly and he praised Maari Ma’s staff for their “time and effort” in planning the move.

“We have worked together for the benefit of our clients who will now have a facility equal if not better to anything found in a capital city.”

As well as being a major provider of health services to aboriginal people in the Far West, Maari Ma is also a large employer of indigenous people. 

According to its last annual report, just over 50 per cent of its around 100 employees are indigenous.

In 2013/14 the corporation treated over 2600 patients in Broken Hill and Wilcannia and recorded over 35,000 episodes of care.

Most of its revenue comes from government funding which it uses to run specific projects.

Earlier this month the federal government announced the nation’s 112 Aboriginal Community Health Controlled Organisations would receive $1.4 billion over the next three years. Maari Ma’s share is $15.53m.

Along with primary health services and clinics, primary care specialist services staff including mental health workers and dieticians will also be located in the new facility.

Work began on the building in July last year and has been completed ahead of schedule by the Mildura building contractor.

Staff will relocate to the new premises on Tuesday afternoon and begin working from the new building on Wednesday morning at 9am to ensure “minimal disruption for clients”, Mr Davis said.

He said a date was yet to be set for the official opening.

Corporate and administrative staff, who relocated to temporary offices during construction, will be moving into the current primary health care site.

Federal health minister and Farrer MP Sussan Ley said the health service played an important role in the region.

“The Maari Ma crew perform an incredibly important role for our region and with the federal government’s focus on prevention, early intervention and best practice management of chronic and complex diseases, this task is as vital as ever,” Ms Ley said.

“I met up with the team last month and look forward to taking a peek at the new set up when they have settled in.”

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