Doc­tors will be missed

Closed clinic a blow to the re­gion

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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.

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