Flu season, yet no doctor

DEEP in flu season and with a number of confirmed cases of whooping cough in the town, Agnes Water is still without a doctor.

It is more than three months since the medical centre closed — with the likelihood of another two months before it reopens.

Former owner of the Agnes Water and Seaview medical centres in Agnes Water Dr Ranjit Panda has left town, closing both centres after announcing with much fanfare, in 2009, he was the answer to ongoing difficulties in getting doctors to The Discovery Coast.

The Agnes Water Medical Centre on Rafting Ground Road ceased medical services on May 5 and new owners Psychup Pty Ltd will not be able to begin services until the end of September at the earliest.

Five months without a doctor across winter has been the cause of much consternation on The Discovery Coast, with patients having to travel hundreds of kilometres, to Bundaberg, Gladstone or even Hervey Bay and Rockhampton, to get medical help.

Staff at the Agnes Water Ambulance Station were run off their feet as the only medical help around, relying at times on volunteer drivers to fill the gaps.

The Gladstone Regional Council said they were doing their best and sought new tenants for the Rafting Ground Road premises, but delays ensued. Queensland Health said the council had the situation in hand. The people of the Discovery Coast were furious.

However, the new-look Agnes Water Medical Centre, to be named Calmed Family Practice, will restore confidence in the people of the district, according to new practice manager Rosemary Ford.

Ms Ford said there had been some difficulties getting access to the council-owned property with some of the former owners’ equipment still in place and the business being in dispute with council over non-payment of rent.

“We understand what people are going through and ask for their patience,” she said.

“We also know that it will take time to regain the trust of the community.

“Gladstone Regional Council have been very helpful, however, they are still finalising the closure of the former surgery operated by Dr Ranjit Panda.

“The Discovery Coast Health Service has also been very supportive, and they have tried hard to alleviate the current medical shortage.

“Although we understand the community anxiety without any medical services, we really hope they will extend their patience and support in this period while we get the surgery equipped and organised.

“There are so many details to be finalised before the surgery can be opened.”

Director of Psychup Pty Ltd Mr Nick Calcagnini was unavailable for comment on an opening date for the Calmed Family Practice or who the new doctors would be.

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