Patients in Gunnedah and the surrounding region will again have local access to GPs, visiting specialists and allied health care under a new arrangement that will re-open the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre.
Federal Regional Health Minister and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the Australian Government had handed over responsibility to the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), which will secure the clinic’s future.
The HNELHD is taking over from the previous operator, Mackellar Care Services, to continue to provide integrated primary health services for the wider Gunnedah community.
“There is clearly strong community support for the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre, which is why I am so delighted that the Australian Government has been able to work with interested parties and the HNELHD to ensure the community’s needs are met,” Minister Coulton said.
“The Gunnedah Rural Health Centre has a key role to play in delivering quality primary health care to the people of Gunnedah and the surrounding region.
“In my role as Regional Health Minister it’s very clear to me that in order to attract people to live, work and raise families in the bush, we need good health services.
“The Australian Government is strongly committed to ensuring rural residents can access quality health services when they are needed – this arrangement is a practical demonstration of that commitment, putting patients and their needs first so they are close to a comprehensive range of GP and allied health services.”
The handover will allow Gunnedah Health Service to move its community health and ambulatory care services into the building, providing a modern, up-to-date home for clinical services such as community nursing, speech pathology, audiometry, cardiac rehabilitation, early childhood services and community mental health.
State Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson welcomed the development.
“I want to thank Mark Coulton for providing the opportunity for this facility to stay in public hands,” Mr Anderson said.
“The Gunnedah community deserve the very best in health services and this facility will help deliver that.
“The community was right behind this push and we now have the opportunity to look at how it can play a part in the $53 million redevelopment of the Gunnedah Hospital. I believe it will be a centre of health excellence.”
Hunter New England Health will seek expressions of interest from other health service providers keen to relocate to the facility, such as pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and health professional training services.
The Rural Health Centre is located on the grounds of Gunnedah District Hospital at 27 Marquis Street, Gunnedah.