By TONY FOSTER
THE recent official launch of Brighton’s new medical centre is a major boost for our community.
As you would know the medical centre, a jointly funded project by the Federal Government and Brighton Council, fills the void left by the departure of the Brighton Doctors clinic in 2011.
While local government is not responsible for the provision of medical services, as a Council once that occurred, we immediately recognised a clinic was vital for our community and we set about to attract another one.
We were fortunate to establish a relationship with Dr Annette Douglas from Medical Practice Management Solutions who agreed to establish a medical centre in Brighton, with the assistance of Council.
We received $850,000 in support in August last year, from the Federal Government to jointly fund a primary health clinic in our municipality.
The successful tenderer, Wilkins Construction, began work on the new facility in January on the site at 1 Bedford Street, and the building was open to patients on August 12.
Council saved costs by building the car park and undertaking the landscaping
We have now been able to provide this very vital service for our community and importantly it means our community no longer has to travel up to 25 kilometres for medical treatment.
The centre brings together GPs, nurses, allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, psychologists, and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Chronic disease management programs are also being delivered from the centre. The general practice also provides placements for both under-graduate and post-graduate medical education students.
It will provide Brighton’s first-ever dental service with the opening of a dental practice including two full-time dentists. It will also provide in-home patient care for residents of Compton Downs Nursing Home.
I am particularly pleased that this centre is providing Brighton with a solid foundation for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services into the future.
We’re the fastest growing community in Tasmania and our residents have a diversity of medical needs. Our young mothers, whose numbers are three times the national average, have special needs and so do their babies.
The municipality also has a high proportion of residents who unfortunately have lifestyles that can lead to heart disease and diabetes type 2. And more than five per cent of our residents are severely disabled – that’s three times the percentage in inner Hobart.
Brighton Council’s funding had support from Federal MPs and State MPs, both in government and in opposition with particular assistance from Labor Member for Lyons, Dick Adams and State Labor member for Lyons, Rebecca White.
We thank all politicians who played such a pivotal role in resolving the GP problem in Brighton.
A primary health care facility in the geographical heart of our municipality is essential for the wellbeing of the community.
Not only was there an urgent need for residents in Brighton, Pontville and Tea Tree to have close access to GPs, but it was also imperative that the whole municipality had access to a wide range of primary health care.
This has now happened.
The centre will improve health outcomes within the municipality and ease pressures on hospitals and medical facilities in Hobart.
It is very much welcomed.