Search for new doctors continues

Sheree Smith says that in spite of some changes, the community can feel reassured that all is well at Nambucca Healthcare Centre.

“We are keeping up our search for new GPs to bring into the valley and we are changing our pathology service provider,” the locally-born Practice Manager said.

“Dr Foster is here and a new GP is starting in February next year ... I have a list of names of people I will contact as soon as the appointment book opens.”

A Medicare issue that classifies the Nambucca Valley neither as an area of need nor one that has a workforce shortage, is part of the problem when it comes to attracting new doctors, Sheree says.

The dialysis unit is going well, open six days a week until 9pm with three shifts a day

Sheree Smith

“Yet Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast are seen as such … an overhaul of the system is underway but in the meantime we continue to struggle with our unmet demand.”

She said the dialysis unit was going well and was open six days a week.

The dialysis facilities are provided by the Mid North Coast Local Health District for local patients. The service leases the space from the centre.

The radiology service is also busy, “doing a fair bit of work for the hospital”.

“We have a sonographer (ultrasound), who specialises in cardiac foetal ultrasound, so we are able to service the hospital’s antenatal clinic, and radiographer (for CT scans). They are both new to the area – one lives in Scotts Head and the other in Bellingen.

“There is an ambulance entry purpose-built to accept hospital patients who have to be transported for X-rays. It’s wonderful that people don’t have to travel to Coffs Harbour.”

Sheree said for her, as a fourth generation Valley resident, the centre was all about providing people with the services they need.

“We are one of only two locally-based dialysis units in the country.”