Bundaberg GP super clinic stalls

THE GP super clinic promised for Bundaberg is on shaky ground after the only group who applied to run the facility was rejected.

But federal health minister Nicola Roxon insists the government is committed to the $5 million clinic, which was promised by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during the 2007 election campaign.

Officials from the Department of Health and Ageing held a closed meeting with “interested parties” on Monday, at which they tried to find other options to pursue a clinic in the wake of the one failed application.

A statement released by Ms Roxon said: “The Invitation to Apply process for the Bundaberg GP Super Clinic has now closed and unfortunately there was not a successful candidate.

“The Government, however, has received a clear message from the local community – including from local health consumers and the Federal Member for Hinkler, Paul Neville MP – that it wants us to pursue providing additional health services for Bundaberg.”

But despite having worked closely on the project with Ms Roxon for months, Mr Neville said he was refused a spot at the meeting.

“I was surprised that I was not invited to this week’s meeting,” he said. “I was further surprised that regional health council members were not invited, given that one of the potential sites for a facility could be in the hospital precinct, and that the processes of any clinic could have varying degrees of impact on Bundaberg Hospital’s outpatients and specialist clinics.”

GP Links Wide Bay chairman Paul Neeskens, who was at the meeting, said attendees were given an update on the clinic’s progress and were given the opportunity to ask questions before putting forward an expression of interest.

“We are looking at the $5 million in funding for the super clinic and we would be interested in doing something with the money in the form of an integrated health clinic,” Dr Neeskens said.

Dr Neeskens could not confirm or deny if GP Links would enter an expression of interest until the matter had been voted on by the board.

Bundaberg Hospital Patient Support Group president Beryl Crosby said the government had to pursue a 24-hour clinic that bulk billed.

“What we don’t want is for the $5 million to go begging because we are in desperate need of health services,” she said.

It is not known when an announcement on the clinic’s future will be made.



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