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Valley residents ‘furious’ GP support is being withdrawn

Written by STEVE KELLY. (archived from Wangaratta Chronicle 20 Nov 2009)

WHITFIELD and Moyhu residents yesterday vowed to do everything they can to keep a medical clinic in each of their towns.

Around 50 local residents met with Bill Sykes (MLA, Benalla), concerned by Ovens and King Community Health Service’s (OKCHS) announcement that it will withdraw its support of the GP clinics in 2010.

OKCHS has supplied support services to the one-day a week clinics in the form of free reception and nursing staff for 10 years, but at its annual general meeting last week it deemed it could no longer afford to foot the cost.

And although doctors at both clinics are yet to decide on the fate of operation beyond December 31, residents want to get proactive to ensure the services stay.

Cheshunt milk bar owner, Cathy Van Gastelen, will chair a small group which will gather information identifying the impact on communities if the clinics were to close.

And the group will also meet with OKCHS in an attempt to have some questions addressed.

Whitfield resident Barbara Westmacott said many locals were “furious” that OKCHS was ceasing its support, without any community consultation.

People are cross there are plenty of clinics open in Wangaratta and those in Whitfield and Moyhu might have to go without,” Ms Westmacott said.

The Whitfield doctor, Chris Lorenze, is very much loved and well respected and it would be sad to see him go.

Ms Westmacott said the distance to travel if both doctors can’t find a way to bridge the financial gap would be too far and strenuous for many residents who are elderly and need carers.


This is an abomination.  Ovens and King have progressively withdrawn a full time nurse, a community bus service, a community car for medical support and finally the medical servioce itself.  They are putting money before people’s health


Written by Greg Naylor

22 November 2009 at 10:22 am

Posted in PERSONAL

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