Af­ter-hours GP clinic at Mid­land hos­pi­tal to close

Eastern Reporter - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

PA­TIENTS need­ing after­hours GP ser­vices in the east could be left high and dry, with the clinic op­er­at­ing at Mid­land Hos­pi­tal set to close on Novem­ber 30.

360 Health + Com­mu­nity has been run­ning the clinic out of the St John of Go­drun Mid­land Hos­pi­tal since 2015.

The regis­tered char­ity won a State Govern­ment ten­der to op­er­ate the ser­vice fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the clinic ad­ja­cent to Swan District Hos­pi­tal, which was de­com­mis­sioned three years ago.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Elizabeth Barnes said de­spite treat­ing 20,000 pa­tients in the past year, the clinic was not fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able.

“We have ex­plored al­ter­na­tive fund­ing op­tions for af­ter-hours ser­vices for eastern re­gion res­i­dents with­out suc­cess,“she said.

“It is with sad­ness that we are ad­vis­ing peo­ple that our ser­vice is per­ma­nently clos­ing.”

An East Metropoli­tan Health Ser­vice spokes­woman said the de­ci­sion to close the ser­vice was de­ter­mined by 360 Health + Com­mu­nity, not the EMHS.

“EMHS has con­trib­uted a small amount of fund­ing to sub­sidise the op­er­at­ing costs of the clinic out­side usual busi­ness hours,” she said.

“We are ex­am­in­ing an al­ter­na­tive ser­vice to as­sist pa­tients who have chronic con­di­tions to bet­ter co-or­di­nate their care, and re­duce their de­pen­dence on hos­pi­tal-based care, such as the need to at­tend the emer­gency de­part­ment.

“There are four large GP clin­ics of­fer­ing ex­tended busi­ness hours in close prox­im­ity to Mid­land Hos­pi­tal and th­ese clin­ics of­fer bulk billing fa­cil­i­ties for el­i­gi­ble in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing chil­dren and con­ces­sion card­hold­ers.

“Mo­bile GP home-vis­it­ing ser­vices are also avail­able to pa­tients in Mid­land and some of the sur­round­ing ar­eas, pro­vid­ing after­hours health care to the com­mu­nity.” How­ever, Com­mu­nity

News un­der­stands there are no mo­bile GP ser­vices for the Hills re­gion.

An AMA (WA) spokesman said the de­ci­sion was dis­ap­point­ing.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion is hope­ful that the ex­ist­ing GP clin­ics in Mid­land and ad­join­ing sub­urbs will be able to pick up the de­mand,” he said.

“Sev­eral GP clin­ics in the area of­fer af­ter-hours ser­vices and more will hope­fully re­con­sider open­ing af­ter hours, given the Fed­eral Govern­ment changes via new ar­range­ments for funded ur­gent af­ter-hours ser­vices.”

GP Su­per­clinic man­ag­ing direc­tor Vas­an­tha Preetham said hours would in­crease to meet de­mand.

“We work with all emer­gency de­part­ments in WA, and with other af­ter-hours ser­vice providers, and where pos­si­ble co-or­di­nate care from site to pro­vide con­sumers in Mid­land and sur­round­ing re­gions with seam­less high-qual­ity care in the com­mu­nity set­ting,” she said.

“We be­lieve it is im­por­tant that the con­sumer be aware to seek ap­pro­pri­ate care from the ap­pro­pri­ate peo­ple at the right place.

“At­tend­ing a clinic at the hos­pi­tal, in my view, con­tra­dicts this mes­sage.”

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