WORK on Brighton’s new medical centre, a jointly funded project by the Federal Government and Brighton Council, has already begun.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said he was delighted that Council had been successful in receiving a primary health care infrastructure grant to help build the facility.
The successful tenderer, Wilkins Construction, began work on the new facility on January 15 on the site at 1 Bedford Street, Brighton. The medical centre is anticipated to be completed in October this year.
“The aim is to establish a new health care facility for additional general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals for our community.
“This facility is much needed in our fast growing region, and we welcome the Federal Government’s funding for the new facility,” Cr Foster said.
The centre is expected to have seven medical consulting suites for GPs and allied health specialists.
It will include rooms for physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, diabetes education and a pathology collection service.
Chronic disease management programs will be delivered from the centre. The general practice will also provide placements for both under-graduate and post-graduate medical education students.
Cr Foster said the centre would provide Brighton with a sound foundation for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services into the future.
“We’re the fastest growing community in Tasmania and our 17,000 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,” Cr Foster said.
“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.
“Funding from this grant is crucial in establishing a permanent health service in Brighton,” Mr Adams wrote in support of Brighton’s submission last year for $1 million to finance setting up the primary health care facility.
Cr Foster thanked Dick Adams and Rebecca White for their active support in getting a resolution to the GP problem in Brighton township.
“A primary health care facility in the geographical heart of our municipality is essential for the wellbeing of the community.”
He said that 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 have access to a wide range of primary health care.
This would improve health outcomes within the municipality and ease pressures on hospitals and medical facilities in Hobart.
“Brighton is becoming a place where people are choosing to live – generally land and housing are more affordable and developments, such as the Brighton Transport Hub, are opening up new job opportunities,” Cr Foster said.
“Council is working with community groups to broaden social and vocational activities. We provide a great opportunity for recreational activities and few municipalities could boast of having 16km of walking tracks, which are designed to encourage the community to keep fit.”
Cr Foster said Brighton municipality had experienced the fastest population growth of the 29 municipalities in Tasmania and that trend will continue.
“It is projected that by the year 2027 our population will be greater than that of the City of Burnie. All the more reason to ensure that Brighton municipality has the best primary health care facility,” Cr Foster said.