Friday, August 1, 2008

Closure of Wanniassa Medical Centre

The closure of the Wanniassa Medical Centre and consequent relocation of the services and GPs to Phillip is a matter of great concern to residents in the Wanniassa area and is an all too familiar story to Canberra.

We have been contacted by members expressing their concern over the closure of the Wanniassa Medical Clinic. Their views are shared by many others, as you can see with the media coverage.

The issue of continuity of care, especially with people with chronic conditions, is a significant concern.

One of our members commented:

I cannot see that moving a medical centre which caters for a wide range of people in a local area, with nearby shops and with reasonably good public transport to a location in a busy centre without adequate public transport and parking problems on many days is at all 'patient centered'.

Annette Ellis MP for Canberra has issued a press release saying that she considers this to be unacceptable. She also says:

“The Wanniassa Medical Centre has been there for 20 years, it has regular patients who have connections and relationships with their own GPs. The Colbee Court facility is walk-in, no appointments – so if you want a particular doctor you’ll have to turn up and hope. For those who can make the commute to Phillip, their medical relationships with their doctors are not guaranteed because of this move."

The Government’s walk-in clinic offers one solution to this intractable problem but we would also encourage serious consideration of expanding the clinical roles of health care professionals, including the increased use of nurse practitioners and other allied health workers.

The GP clinic is an entry point to our heath system and at the same time operates as a business. Many GPs are in the unenviable position of balancing consumer access to primary health care with meeting their business costs. Inevitably this leads to conflicting priorities. In this case, it appears that many of the consumers using the Wanniassa Medical Centre are the losers.

We need to find a more effective way of ensuring consumers receive safe and appropriate care in primary health care setting.

The HCCA media release is available on our website (34kb Pdf).

We want to hear your views on this issue

1 comment:

Darlene said...

Rosemary Lissimore from the Tuggeranong Commuity Council sent in the following comments regarding the closure of the Wanniassa Medical Centre:

The news of the closure of the Wanniassa Medical Centre, took us all by surprise we were in shock when we first heard of this, especially the short notice for the doctors and the patients. I believe that the community needs answers to the following questions:

How is this Super Clinic going to handle the continuity of the patient’s health, if you cannot make appointments with your own Doctor?

Do the Doctors want to move or are they being forced to?

What is going to happen to the centre when the medical centre closes?

How is one courtesy car being provided from the Phillip Super Centre going to help all the patients from the Wanniassa practice?

How many hours will the patients have to wait at the Super Clinic before they see the Doctor on duty for that day?

We cannot dictate the rules of sale of this site, but the owner could have shown more consideration to the patients. Now is the time for the ACT Government to come to the rescue of the patients, before the election. First we had “super schools” which led to school closures. We now have “super medical centres” which are now closing what next? Could it be after the election we have a “super government”.

Rosemary Lissimore
President Tuggeranong Community Council