Doctors will be missed
Closed clinic a blow to the region
The Doctors Airlie Beach clinic has changed the face of medicine in the Whitsundays since Dr Evan Nicholls first opened its doors.
And 16 years later, Dr Nicholls will close the practice doors with a heavy heart.
Dr Nicholls said he and his team had fallen in love with the Whitsunday community and were saddened to have to turn over the next chapter of their lives.
The clinic has not re-opened since it was forced to close on March 27 when Cyclone Debbie struck the Whitsunday coast.
“(Prior to that) the service was going well and we were proud of the way we looked after our patients,” Dr Nicholls said.
“(But) cyclones create horrific damage and sometimes services are affected and there is nothing we can do to undo it”.
In the days following Cyclone Debbie, doctors found a way to help the community through a makeshift camper van clinic.
“We offered to look after everyone and if people had simple medical questions we could advise them accordingly, people were smart enough to know emergencies need an ambulance but they needed to work out if they needed them at the time,” Dr Nicholls said.
Other medical staff spent hours cleaning the clinic, but the end result proved beyond repair.
“Over a week or two it became clear the premises were thoroughly contaminated and about half our equipment was destroyed,” Dr Nicholls said.
Dr Nicholls said he and his team expressed their gratitude to their patients who trusted the clinic to look after them.
Current patients who were waiting for the clinic before proceeding with any medical needs are encouraged to find a new doctor.
If a new GP requires any important health information - they are asked to fax the request to 4948 1800.
For more information see the public notices section in this week’s Whitsunday Times.