The fate of Gunnedah's Rural Health Centre has finally been cemented.
Hunter New England Health (HNEH) will takeover responsibility of the centre, taking over from the previous operator Mackellar Care Services. While the future is set, a timeline for the takeover is yet to be given.
This means residents will soon have access to GPs, visiting specialists and allied health care again.
The announcement was made by Regional Health Minister and Parkes MP Mark Coulton on Friday, alongside HNEH's executive director, rural and regional health services, Susan Heyman and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson.
The handover will allow Gunnedah Health Service to move its community health and ambulatory care services into the building, providing a modern, up-to-date home for clinical services such as community nursing, speech pathology, audiometry, cardiac rehabilitation, early childhood services and community mental health.
Ms Heyman said the staff were pleased to move into the purpose-built health facility.
"The delivery of quality health care to Gunnedah and surrounds is a priority for Hunter New England Health and we are committed to ensuring this fantastic facility plays a key role in that moving forward," Ms Heyman said.
"We also hope to identify opportunities for other tenants to occupy the building, alongside those services already outlined."
Ms Heyman said HNEH would seek expressions of interest from other health service providers keen to relocate to the facility, such as pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and health professional training services.
In order to attract people to live, work and raise families in the bush, we need good health services.Parkes MP Mark Coulton
She said services supportive of the operation of Gunnedah Hospital, such as a coffee shop, newsagent or florist were other possible options, and that any activities carried out in the centre would need to complement the hospital services.
Mr Coulton said there was "clearly strong community support" for the centre, and that "in order to attract people to live, work and raise families in the bush, we need good health services".
He said the federal government was committed to ensuring locals had quality primary health care.
Mr Anderson said locals deserved "the very best in health services and this facility will help deliver that".
"The community was right behind this push and we now have the opportunity to look at how it can play a part in the $53 million redevelopment of the Gunnedah Hospital. I believe it will be a centre of health excellence," he said.
The clinic's past has been fraught with dramas, closing numerous times due to a lack of doctors.
It closed in October 2019 after Mackellar Care Services struggled to keep doctors and locums, leaving many residents in the lurch.
Prior to that, it closed in 2017 for the same reason.