EXPRESSIONS of interest from potential operators of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre are now closed, but it could be up to six months before the clinic is operational.
Hunter New England Health (HNEH) said it received three applications, which will go before an evaluation committee for review in the coming weeks.
The view is to have the successful applicant providing services from the centre in the coming six months, HNEH said.
Gunnedah Shire Council has welcomed the news, but questioned the six month time frame and requested the process be considered a "matter of urgency".
"The Gunnedah community is in desperate need of doctors and another six months is not good enough," Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said.
"Council have recently outlined our concerns about the local GP shortage in the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote New South Wales.
"The situation on the ground in Gunnedah is at a crisis level.
"The proposed six month time frame in addressing this health crisis is simply unacceptable and leaves our residents at risk."
HNEH were contacted for further comment but were unable to respond late on Friday.