Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Ovens & King Community Health abandons the King Valley

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Ovens and King Community Health Service (O&K) have sent a letter to their clients advising that they are withdrawing the doctor’s services from Whitfield and Moyhu at the end of the year.

O&K, now a Company, can no longer subsidise the reception and nursing services for the locums who come there for half a day each week.  You see, it’s all about money.

It is reported that the doctors pay O&K $6 per patient.  In four hours the doctor would see about 16 patients returning $96 to Ovens and King towards the half day’s wages to the receptionist and nurse.   The amount required to subsidise these wages could hardly affect the long term viability as they claim in their letter.

Somewhere along the way, O&K have stopped being a community service and have become a company and they justify their decision to pull out with,

Under the corporations Act 2001, our Board (of) Directors are required to certify the solvency of OKCHS on an annual basis.  The cost that the Company incurs in providing these services to support the private GP’s clinics can no longer be sustained as it has a negative impact on the long term viability of OKCHS

This is blatently putting profit making ahead of the health of the communities affected and must be challenged on every level.  It has to involve the Federal Government as Bulk Billing and Medicare are involved, it must involve the State Government who oversee Community Health Centres and it must involve the Wangaratta Council as the burden of getting these people into other doctor’s in Wangaratta is impossible as they have mostly closed their books to new patients.

Hardest hit will be the elderly in the upper King Valley as far out as Rose River and Tatong (90k from Wangaratta) who, whilst they could make their way to Whitfield with the aid of neighbours, will have no way to get to Wangaratta except by the bus service that runs from Cheshunt three days a week leaving them stranded in the city until the bus returns at 3 pm.

I understand that the locals are furious and have already sought assistance from State and Federal members of Parliament.  A public meeting at the Swinburn Pavillion (Whitfield Recreation Reserve) has been mooted.  There will be more to report on this issue.


Written by Greg Naylor

16 November 2009 at 10:02 pm

Posted in MEDICAL

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