NEGOTIATIONS to find a GP service to keep the Ouse practice open are ongoing, but authorities are optimistic of a good outcome.
Moreton Group has committed to taking on the practice from November 1 and are in the process of discussing issues such as access to the premises and Council and Government support.
The current GP intends closing on October 31, meaning patients would have to travel long distances to visit a GP, even if they could find one with books open.
As part of the the State Government’s Covid regulations, all medical staff are mandated to be vaccinated by the end of October.
The current Ouse GP decided he did not want to be vaccinated, therefore forcing the closure the medical service and pharmacy.
Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said his department had been working to find a solution.
“There have been significant efforts made through HR Plus, Tasmania’s Rural Workforce Agency, to find an alternative provider,’’ Mr Rockliff said.
“While this is a private business, there has also been engagement with the Department of Health as the landlord of the current premises, and the Central Highlands Council.
“The Department of Health has received some information from the Moreton Group in relation to what support might be required from the Government, with discussions currently occurring.
“The Government recognises the importance of GP services in rural and regional communities and we are committed to doing everything we reasonably can to ensure that GP services are maintained in Ouse.’’
Earlier this month, Central Highlands Mayor Lou Triffitt said the local community was greatly relieved that the Moreton Group had agreed to step in and establish a GP Clinic.
Ms Triffitt said with 1200 active patients in the region, it had been a very anxious wait to find a replacement.
“We have an aging population and some patients have to visit their GP three times a week,’’ Ms Triffitt said.
“Transport is often a huge issue and access to GPs in many places is impossible. “Since learning the old GP would close we have worked persistently as a council. “The council will support the new service with a vehicle, a residence and a contribution of cash.’’
The Moreton Group is funded through Primary Health Tasmania and the Federal Government and provides access to bulk billed doctors between 6pm and 10pm Monday to Friday.
It also operates mobile clinics that are designed to remove barriers to accessing healthcare for vulnerable communities.