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Tuross doctors can no longer “weather the storm” surgery to close

Ian Campbell 2 August 2019
One Tree Point at Tuross. Photo: Bruno Fabbo, Tuross Head Facebook.

One Tree Point at Tuross. Photo: Bruno Fabbo, Tuross Head Facebook.

The Tuross community will be without a doctor from the end of this month, a move that will alarm other communities in Southern New South Wales.

“The difficult and disappointing decision has been made to close this practice – the last consulting day will be Friday, 30 August 2019,” a media statement from Queen Street Medical Centre Tuross says.

GP Partner, Dr Neil Starmer adds, “Closing the Tuross Practice is confronting and disappointing decision to have to make.”

“As a partnership, we thought we could weather the storm comprising static government rebates, poor GP workforce distribution and rising costs. We have exhausted every avenue available to keep the practice open.

“This decision should have been made 12 months ago from a business perspective. The only consolation I can offer is that your medical care can continue with the same doctors in Moruya. We can provide the continuity of care, just not at Tuross.

“The Tuross population will be truly upset and distraught by this loss. I understand that and I can only emphasise that we the partners tried as hard as we could for as long as possible.”

Doctors Issuru Premawardhana, Thilan Walgamage, Aidan Lawrence, Emily Goodwin and Partner GP Dr Les Roberts Thomson will continue to work their usual rostered Tuross days at the Queen Street Medical Centre Moruya practice from Monday, September 2.

All Tuross patient notes will remain accessible via the central database in Moruya.

“Importantly, our valued and experienced Tuross staff will also continue working with Queen Street Medical Centre in Moruya,” Dr Starmer says.

“Existing Queen Street Medical Centre Tuross patients are encouraged to continue to make their appointments at the Tuross practice, with their usual Tuross doctor up to and including August 30.”

The news has been met with disappointment from the Tuross community:

Marilyn Raven writes on the Tuross Head Facebook page, “This is really bad news for our village of about 3000 and many who don’t have cars or cannot drive. I understand that without better government support it cannot remain open just sad that we seem to have a government that doesn’t give a toss about anyone but the wealthy.”

Arety Kr writes, “Very disappointing, not just for Tuross but neighboring towns that use this doctors. Hopefully someone else will come along and reopen it.”

Robert Macklin, “This is a disaster.”

From September 2, all existing Tuross appointments will remain as booked with their usual doctor but the consultation will take place at the Moruya centre at 49 Queen Street Moruya.

The closure of the Tuross surgery comes nine years after it was opened using Federal Government funds secured by the Member for Eden-Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly.

Of concern to other regional communities will be the sense of despair in Dr Starmer’s words who says the business can no longer “weather the storm” of static government rebates, poor GP workforce distribution and rising costs. Circumstances that must be being felt elsewhere in the region and placing pressure on doctors.

Region Media has asked the Member for Eden Monaro, Member for Gilmore, and South East NSW Primary Health Care Network – Coordinare for comment. More to come.

What's Your Opinion?

One Response to Tuross doctors can no longer “weather the storm” surgery to close

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carolyn fraser 10:53 am 28 Aug 19

It's a pity that caring for our health comes down to profits. Why can't the surgery be opened part time in the community hall or a church hall or something similar? It happens elsewhere. And health shouldn't be about profit or loss; it should be about caring for people and the community. There are lots of Turossians here who really need a localised medico, not someone over 20 kilometres away. Even a volunteer based surgery once a week would be preferable to nothing. Very disappointing to know that we are expendable.

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