Letters to the editor: August 24

DIVIDED: The future of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre remains unclear.
DIVIDED: The future of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre remains unclear.

Rural Health Centre

The current situation surrounding the Rural Health Centre is yet another chapter in the Gunnedah medical mess.

For decades the town has experienced an under supply of general practitioners, and doctors in Gunnedah must be aware that this shortage generates a great deal of local anger. Residents are again being refused appointments and told to "try their luck at 8am tomorrow". Nobody wants to put their health in the lap of luck and so sick (often elderly) patients are being forced to travel to Tamworth for their GP services.

I can understand that doctors wish to have control over their profession, but if they are incapable of organising adequate patient care there is a strong case for them to step aside and allow the government to play a greater role in the delivery of an efficient rural medical service.

Brian Jeffrey, 

Gunnedah

Why change your mind?

Further to articles concerning the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre we wonder why some of those who originally supported the Centre changed their minds? We returned to Gunnedah in September 2009 and, if my memory serves me correctly, fund raising for the Centre was in full swing.

We were given to understand the majority of doctors then in Gunnedah supported the concept and others in anciliary fields also indicated their support. If this was not the case why was the Centre built?

The first disappointment must have been when one or more of the original supporters withdrew their support. Understandably there were some problems settling into the the new environment and adjusting to the management structure. Our question is: why couldn’t any problem be worked out in those early years ? why did doctors withdraw from the Centre and set up practice elsewhere in the town? Surely they were the beginning of the “revolving door”? We were perplexed as we had witnessed the successful merger of independent GPs in the Caboolture area combining into a medical centre there. We became patients at the Rural Health Centre and were appreciative of the efforts by staff and doctors.

If the Centre had management or other problems in the first instance so intolerable to at least two doctors, why are they so keen to lease it back now? Lack of support by local doctors has made conditions nearly impossible for the latest management team and the staff. The staff members have lost their jobs, the Centre is in financial difficulties and, from our perspective, problems seem to have been caused in the beginning by the intransigence of individuals.

The Rural Health Centre is a tremendous asset to the community, a large amount of taxpayer funds made it a possibility. Gunnedah needs to support this facility - “we” asked for it.

Phillip and Sandy Thomas,

Gunnedah

Postal vote wording 

Will the wording of the postal plebiscite be set to harvest a ‘Yes’ vote to distort the result (and be rejected) or will it be an honest presentation to identify the real issue and the will of people?

The proposed vote will be a test of democracy and political respect for Australian families. An official ‘NO CASE’ will show respect for democracy. Defined clarity of correct questions will display either respect or contempt for the Australian voters.

The proposed voting changes to the Marriage Act must be worded politically and grammatically correct to read: Do you support the registration of Homosexual relationships? If so, should they be titled “Civil Union” or “Marriage”. Should the traditional word “Marriage”, referring to the family unit of male, female and children be retained exclusively for traditional families? Without precise clarity of questions you will have the usual political contempt of democracy forcing many to vote ‘No’.

G J May, Forestdale