LETTER: Jindabyne needs the Super Clinic

EDITOR: The Super Clinic means that Jindabyne will have a secure primary health care facility that will provide a base for future expansion and attract health services to our town. This means better health facilities and improved services.

Jindabyne is one of the fastest growing areas in rural NSW with a local population of over 4,000 people and 25,000 tourist beds. At present the town has no government supported acute care health facility.

I have lived in Jindabyne for 18 years and owned the local medical practice for 14 years. We continue to face the rural challenges of attracting permanent doctors and allied health professionals as well as the costs of high commercial rent. Our local medical practice has outgrown its current premises.

I have worked with the Division of General Practice - now Southern NSW Medicare Local - for 10 years to secure a primary health care facility for Jindabyne. In 2010 we supported our local council who were successful in gaining Super Clinic funding - funding that is ideally suited to Jindabyne as a town with a single medical practice. This project allows an asset worth in excess of $3.6 million to be located in Jindabyne and owned by the local council, and used for primary health care services for the community.

It provides a larger space for general practice as well a meeting area for health promotion activities, sessional rooms, an x-ray facility, pathology collection, a dispensary and a small physiotherapy or chiropractic practice.

Political agendas prior to the election have 'muddied the waters' and confused what this project is about. Now, this project could be in doubt. The original $5.5 million funding approved in 2010 and the additional funding $880,000 approved just prior to the election, must - it seems - now go back before the new federal Liberal health minister for approval. It should be noted that over $750,000 has already been spent on consultants and design work to date. Site works were scheduled to start last week.

The scrapping of this project would be a terrible result for the community of Jindabyne.

Any further opportunities for federal health funding are likely to be many years away. It would also cost a total of $1 million dollars in cancellation costs with the builder and architects to date.

I appeal to our new member for Eden-Monaro to support our Super Clinic project and lobby on our behalf with the new health minister. I am fully supportive of the Super Clinic project and am committed to the first three years of operation with the existing medical practice operating from these new premises.

In the event of this project collapsing I would need to review my role and that of my current practice in the provision of health services in Jindabyne.

Dr Cath Newman

Jindabyne

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