Brighton still pushing for medical centre resolution

BRIGHTON Council is continuing to press the Federal and State Governments to enable the re-opening of the Brighton Doctors’ clinic.

The clinic closed on June 17 due to Commonwealth regulations that forced the relocation of Dr Rasamak Amini.

The clinic opened in April 2007 and has provided more than 10,500 consultations treating approximately 3000 patients.

The clinic was purpose built with four consulting rooms a treatment room, pathology collection centre and staff facilities. Medical practitioners were supported by local nurses providing full-time support. Practice doctors were generally international medical graduates (IMGs) from Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, Germany and more recently Iran, with local Australian trained doctors from Hobart also providing services.

Malcolm Lovell from Brighton Doctors said the clinic was forced to close mainly due to the challenges of attracting and retaining doctors.

This was the result of the Australian Government’s classification making the area less favourable for general practitioners when compared to the neighbouring areas such as New Norfolk, Huonville and Richmond.

“The last straw that caused the clinic closure was the requirement that Dr Amini relocate out of Brighton because his application to become an Australian resident was successful,” Mr Lovell said.

“The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing classification of Brighton means the regulations for international medical graduates (IMG) are much less favourable and doctors who gain permanent residency are required to leave.

“With Dr Amini gaining his permanent residency months earlier than expected, there was not time to organise another IMG. The requirement for Dr Amini to move from the clinic after 15 months was due to this classification issue.

“This factor and funding issues involving Medicare rebates caused unsustainable differences between the clinic and the surrounding centres,” Mr Lovell said.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Council had met with Brighton Doctors and Commonwealth and State politicians in an effort to resolve the matter and have the clinic reopen.

“Prior to the closure we only had two medical practices in the municipality and are now left with just one in Bridgewater to attend to the needs of the our 14,000 people and a growing business and industrial community,” Cr Foster said.

“This is not good enough and our governments must act to resolve the situation.

“Council remains committed to support improved medical access and better health outcomes for the Brighton community.

“It needs to start with the Commonwealth Minister agreeing that the classification needs changing so that Brighton is considered the same as the neighbouring centres and then taking the necessary legislative steps to facilitate this.

“The funding situation through Medicare must also be examined.

“We will continue our support of Brighton Doctors to achieve this,” Cr Foster said.