Doctor on the way for Agnes Water
A DOCTOR is coming to Agnes Water – but so is Christmas, according to frustrated locals who have been without a GP for almost six months.
At a public meeting of Agnes Water/Seventeen Seventy ratepayers last week, feelings bubbled over on a number of issues including the “exorbitant rates” and lack of a doctor in the town.
Agnes Water resident Maggie Behal said the community was “more than frustrated at the lack of action” from the Gladstone Regional Council.
“A primary case in point is the way the GRC has chosen to deal with the responsibility for providing a doctor for our area,” Ms Behal said.
“According to its budget figures, the GRC receives over $1 million a year in government grants to provide this service.
“We have been without a doctor now for five months and that situation is likely to continue into the near future.
“A phone call has ascertained that a locum GP could have been provided at a cost of $6000 a week to create a seamless transition between medical providers.”
Council has leased the old Agnes Water Medical Centre premises, abandoned by Dr Ranjit Panda in May, to new providers the Cal-Med Family Practice.
However, owner Debbie Calcagnini said the new business had trouble in securing doctors for the practice and thus the delays.
“It’s been a long road, but we are finally getting there,” Ms Calcagnini said.
“It has been very difficult to find two registered doctors who want to work and live in Agnes Water.
“But we now have two doctors ready to start and we are just waiting on their provider numbers to come through and then the practice can open. It now looks like that may be late October or early November.”
Ms Calcagnini said the GRC had been “extremely supportive” of the new practice and done everything they could to get it up and running as soon as possible.
Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said he had written to the Queensland Ombudsman to investigate what he said was “council’s failure to provide a GP for The Discovery Coast”.
“The obvious indicator that Gladstone Regional Council has failed their duty of care is that since May to this present day, a GP medical service has been missing from the Discovery Coast, forcing residents in need of medical treatment and advice to drive at least an hour-and-a-half to either Bundaberg or Gladstone, and in some cases three hours to Hervey Bay.”
A GRC spokesperson said it was the not the responsibility of council to provide primary health care and the GRC was “simply the landlord of the medical centre”.