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Community & Business

9 April, 2022

Rural health crisis hits Gilgandra

After five weeks closed without a doctor, Brenshaw Medical Centre Gilgandra has finally reopened last week.

By Emily Middleton

The centre’s only doctor, Dr Harrison, had time off due to contracting pneumonia. When he came back initially, “he still just wasn’t feeling his best, so took a bit of time off. Unfortunately, that led us to having no doctor.” said practice manager Amanda Anforth.

No doctor on board meant no consultations, and the practice had to close temporarily. Brenshaw tried to find a replacement doctor however were unsuccessful.

“We had about 29 different agencies with ads out for doctors,” said Miss Anforth.

“We had a couple of potential doctors come with interest, however chose to take positions elsewhere. There were definitely multiple issue affecting these choices.”

According to Miss Anforth, Brenshaw had staff in the clinic at certain times, however due to no revenue, they had to cut them right back.

“It just wasn’t financially feasible.”

But the impact doesn’t just stop at the centres closure. Five weeks without a doctor meant patients were forced to go elsewhere. “Our patients simply needed a doctor,” said Miss Anforth.

“We are still booking a reasonable amount of appointments every day now, but it has encouraged a lot of our patients to attend other practices.”

Dr Harrison is back in clinic now, as the supervisor for new doctor, Dr Sasika De Silva.

“She’s recently finished her studies and is new to practicing so needs a supervisor onsite, but is able to manage patients care all the same.”

After six months of supervision from Dr Harrison, Dr Sasika will remain at Brenshaw fulfilling patients needs.

Brenshaw Medical is one of the many medical practices that have been affected by the ongoing rural health crisis. The inquiry into rural health officially wrapped up earlier this year, and an outcome is still pending.

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