Tuross residents voice concerns over Surgery closure
The President of the Tuross Head Progress Association (THPA), Cathy Milliken and Secretary THPA , John Tilbrook, met with the Federal member for GILMORE Fiona Phillips on Saturday 3rd August outside of the Tuross Head Medical Centre. It has been announced that the Centre is scheduled to close its doors for business on the 30th Aug 19 with Queen Street Medical Centre (QSMC) patients being advised that the practice will continue to provide its client services at its Queen Street, Moruya surgery.
The THPA executive presented the Member for Gilmore with a detailed 5-page submission on the negative impacts that the adverse decision made by the QSMC partners will have on Tuross Head, both on its patients and the domino effect to other retail businesses. The submission has also been provided to the State member for Bega, Andrew Constance with the THPA pleading the case for both State and Federal parliamentary representatives work closely together to salvage a positive outcome for the future of the Tuross Surgery complex, suggesting a different medical practice provider. President Cathy Milliken told the Beagle "The bottom line is that both State & Federal Health Ministers will need to provide additional rural & regional health program funding to support the day-to-day operational running costs of the facility so that the surgery will again become a viable economical venture."
Cathy Milliken (right) took the opportunity of handing the THPA submission to the Federal Member for GILMORE, Fiona Phillips, MP outside of the doomed QSMC practice and explained the plight of the Tuross community.
Secretary THPA , John Tilbrook offered the following overview "The QSMC is headquartered at its Queens Street medical centre, with satellite surgery’s located at Broulee and at Tuross Head, the latter of which is now set to close its doors. It is understood that the QSMC already faces the ongoing issue of catering for the medical management of well over 10,000 localised patients, and is constrained by the difficulty in recruiting sufficient doctors due to the reluctance of medical practitioners to take up employment in rural and regional areas due to the absence of financial incentives or career progression opportunities."
"As such the majority of QSMC doctors are only available to work for one or two days a week, or less, which in turn creates difficulties in managing a heavy patient load."
"Given the age demographic of Tuross Head where more than 55% of its population is aged 65 years or older, and the fact that this significant demographic is increasing exponentially, it is vital that the Tuross Head surgery remains open to serve the ongoing needs of our community."
"The principals of QSMC have announced that it will be business as usual for its Tuross patients, in that they will still be able to engage in consultations with their usual doctor, as they will now operate out of the QSMC rooms in Moruya." "That said, the related impact arising out of the closure of the QSMC Tuross Head medical centre will be wide ranging as outlined in our submission." Mr Tilbrook added.
"A great number of aged Tuross residents are no longer able to drive, and with no public transport it will be onerous in organising transport to and from Moruya for consultations with their doctor. "Putting aside the critical care of patients with chronic illnesses, ability to be able to access to a doctor in unforeseen medical emergencies and the availability of ongoing nursing care for aged patients, the closure of the Tuross surgery will also have an indirect but serious negative on the other Tuross businesses who are already operating on tight margins being reliant of seasonal clientele to maintain viability and to retain casual staff. "Given that all patients from Tuross Head will now have to travel by whatever means at their disposal to see their doctor at the QSMC Moruya will no doubt take the opportunity of doing most of their future business in that town, such as having prescriptions dispensed, banking, grocery shopping, hair dressing, coffee, meals, hardware and other sundry purchases to the detriment of flagging businesses at the Tuross Head shopping precinct in particular.
"In summing up the THPA has requested that both our Federal and State Members actively engage together and to work in unison in a bipartisan way to try and reverse the decision of the QSMC to close the Tuross Surgery, albeit the latter is unlikely due to the short notice given. "The retention of a permanent doctor and registered nurse at the Tuross Head surgery in the near future would serve to ease the burden of the increasing patient load which under the new QSMC arrangement will only cause further inconvenience to the patients residing at Tuross Head and increased waiting lists to see a doctor", Mr Tilbrook concluded.