Hunter New England Health opens up on Gunnedah Rural Health Centre decision

Gunnedah Rural Health Centre.
Gunnedah Rural Health Centre.

HUNTER New England Health has moved to assure the community a decision on the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre is still in the works. 

Susan Heyman, Executive Director Rural and Regional Health Services, is confident that the supplier put forward in a proposal to purchase the right to run a medical and allied health practice from the building would get an answer.

It comes after the GRHC appointed Alan Hayes, of Hayes Advisory, as voluntary administrator on July 7.

Mr Hayes put forward a proposal to the state and federal governments in August that outlined Mackellar Care Services as the preferred party to operate from the clinic, which would see creditors be returned 100 cents to the dollar.

But a decision is yet to be made, causing frustrations to the community, creditors, Mr Hayes and Mackellar. 

Ms Heyman this week clarified that the Commonwealth was working through the decision.

“It takes time and you’ve got to do it right,” she said.

“GRHC is not being sold. The lease is to operate and run a GP health practice.”

Among the requirements for the arrangement are bulk billing and medical officers assisting with the hospital emergency department. 

“The Commonwealth is in the process of drawing up the contract,” Ms Heyman said.

“Once these contractual arrangements have been signed off, we can assign the lease. I’m confident it will be done. We’re confident the supplier is going to supply the health services to make sure it remains viable.”

Mackellar Care CEO Sandra Strong told the NVI the not-for-profit organisation was “primed and ready to go”.

“It’s very exciting from our point of view,” Mrs Strong said.

“We’re extremely concerned about the wait because we’re ready to go.”

The organisation has already had interest from seven medical officers, who are committed to working in the emergency department.

“We’ve done our due diligence on the centre,” Mrs Strong said.

“We’re hoping a decision will be made in the very near future.”

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