Residents in flood-affected communities across the North Coast can be assured that access to primary health care services is starting to bounce back as the recovery effort gets underway.
Healthy North Coast Chief Executive Officer Julie Sturgess has praised the commitment of all primary health care workers – general practices, Aboriginal medical services, pharmacies, dental practices, mental health services and other allied health providers – in continuing to serve the community during the flood emergency and now recovery period.
‘We have been working with GPs, pharmacies and other primary care professionals to get them back on their feet as soon as possible,’ she said. ‘We know that about 85-90% of GP clinics in flood-impacted areas are now open and many are fully operational, with about 90% of our pharmacies also open.
‘This is a clear demonstration of their resilience and commitment to our community and their determination to be part of the recovery and rebuild in Northern NSW.
‘But we know that many areas were hard hit and we are exploring a range of options with the GP workforce to meet community needs in those towns,’ she said.
‘In Lismore, we’ve identified which clinics are operating and we are liaising with other towns where access to GPs is still difficult,’ said Ms Sturgess.
She urged residents to visit the Healthy North Coast website at www.hnc.org.au for service updates, where information will be published as it comes to hand.
‘We’ve also been able to stand up a mobile GP clinic in Lismore thanks to the generous folk at Street Side Medics,’ she said.
Street Side Medics is a not-for-profit that normally delivers a free, GP-led, mobile medical service to people experiencing homelessness in NSW.
Ms Sturgess said Street Side Medics has kindly donated a fully equipped mobile medical centre on temporary loan, free-of-charge to support North Coast communities. The mobile clinic is currently stationed outside the Lismore Clinic, at 185 Molesworth St, but it will remain in the region for at least the next month.
She said Healthy North Coast was also very grateful to Lismore Clinic GPs and clinical staff who are assisting by staffing the mobile clinic.
‘I want to remind people that if they can’t get to their GP due to the flood impacts, they can still call Healthy North Coast GP Telehealth on 1800 931 158.
‘That’s free, 24/7 phone or video consultations including electronic scripts,’ she said.
‘In times of crisis, people need support at the front line. And that’s where our GPs, pharmacies, Aboriginal medical services, and mental health professionals have been – not only through this flood emergency and recovery – but for the past two years.
‘We are truly indebted to them,’ she said.