News / Featured / Community / Business / 2nd December 2021
Baradine Medical Centre under threat of closure
The search for a new doctor is underway in Baradine.
The community has expressed concern over the announcement that the town’s health clinic could close if a doctor is not appointed.
The town’s only GP for five years, Dr Martin Hua, will finish at the end of January next year. The Baradine Aged Care Association, which owns the medical centre and doctor’s house, say they are pulling out all stops to secure a new general practitioner.
“Because we own the surgery and residence, it is up to our committee to find a new doctor,” said Baradine Aged Care committee chairman, Paul Wangmann.
“Our committee is looking at a solution to the issue and we have various options already in the pipeline. We are also discussing a satisfactory resolution to the issue with the Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton and with the Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service.
“We really value Dr Hua’s commitment to the local community and his skills and would like to thank him for the excellent service he has provided.
“We have been through this before. The challenges attracting and retaining doctors in small rural communities are well known, but we have been successful in the past and I am confident we will get a doctor in the near future.”
The Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service (CAHS), that runs the surgery, said that the facility could be closed if funding cannot be sourced to allow it to continue to operate.
According to CAHS chief executive, Phil Naden, the action is a cost-based decision.
“We inherited the Baradine surgery when Ochre Health sold it some years ago and, during that time, it has been run as a private clinic, but now we do not see it as a viable business,” Mr Naden said.
“If a doctor cannot be found, we could have to make a very difficult decision to close the doors.
“We have been supporting the clinic to remain open, but because it is being run as a private clinic there are no self- generated funds to cover the cost of clinicians and staff.
“If the facility does close, it will be hard for the town, as obviously they will lose a major part of their medical services. We are trying to work with the community at the moment, as well as with local, state and federal governments.
“In the interim, we would be looking at patients travelling to doctors in Coonabarabran or Coonamble and we will continue to lobby and advocate all levels of government for funding to keep the medical centre doors open.”