Doors to open for clinic

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Bron­wyn Wheatcroft

RES­I­DENTS are be­ing as­sured that Mareeba will re­ceive ex­cel­lent health care af­ter re­cent con­cerns over the Gen­eral Prac­tice (GP) Bulk Billing Clinic lo­cated at the hos­pi­tal, but ques­tions still need to be an­swered.

The doors to the clinic will open on Oc­to­ber 3 and the clinic will be run by Ama­roo Med­i­cal.

Cairns and Hin­ter­land Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice (CHHHS) chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Dou­glas said ar­range­ments are cur­rently be­ing fi­nalised for the co-lo­cated clinic, and fur­ther de­tails would be avail­able once con­trac­tual ar­range­ments are in place.

“Dur­ing this process we have ex­am­ined sev­eral mod­els of care to en­sure im­proved pri­mary health care ser­vices for the peo­ple of Mareeba and this is a great ex­am­ple of how work­ing to­gether can help achieve a pos­i­tive out­come,” she said.

“Hos­pi­tals are best placed to pro­vide acute care. The new clinic will pro­vide pri­mary care ser­vices and the two fa­cil­i­ties will work closely to en­sure the peo­ple of Mareeba re­ceive the best pos­si­ble health care.”

Ama­roo Med­i­cal doc­tor and owner Ch­eryl Har­nischfeger said they were ap­ply­ing for fund­ing for the ex­ten­sion of their cur­rent cen­tre when they were made aware that the COAG fund­ing would be stop­ping and North­ern Queens­land Pri­mary Health Net­work (NQPHN) were look­ing to make a dif­fer­ent plan for GP ser­vices.

She said NQPHN are fund­ing all the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy side and soft­ware of the prac­tice, Queens­land Health is sup­ply­ing the staff and fa­cil­i­ties and Ama­roo are pro­vid­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tions and know how.

“The con­tract has not been signed yet but there have been dis­cus­sions that we will run it un­til June next year and then we will dis­cuss it with QLD Health and see what the best course is af­ter that,” she said.

“The Mareeba com­mu­nity can be as­sured they will be looked af­ter and there will a long term so­lu­tion to help the whole com­mu­nity.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Save the Mareeba Hos­pi­tal Group said they be­lieve that the best out­come for the Mareeba Hos­pi­tal and the Mareeba Com­mu­nity is for the Mareeba Hos­pi­tal to run the pri­vate clinic.

Mem­ber Ross Cardillo said NQPHN ad­vised in a meet­ing held in Mareeba on June 7 that only pri­vate owned GP clin­ics were el­i­gi­ble to run a bulk billing clinic at Mareeba Hos­pi­tal.

He said it was re­in­forced at a meet­ing held on July 7 where they were ad­vised that prof­its must stay with pri­vate en­ter­prise.

He said the main aim of the group is to make sure the best out­come is made for the Mareeba com­mu­nity and that vi­tal ser­vices are kept and added to at the hos­pi­tal.

NQPHN were con­tacted by the Tablelands Ad­ver­tiser for com­ment but did not pro­vide a re­sponse be­fore dead­line.

Pic­ture: An­drea Falvo

Mareeba District Hos­pi­tal.

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