Tailem Bend Medical Practice up for tender

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ANONYMOUS letter to the Editor of Tailem Topics raises more questions than answers about the future of the Tailem Bend Medical Centre and possibly, the future of the Town’s Hospital.

With strict policies concerning the publishing of unnamed letters to the Editor, Tailem Topics is unable to provide you with a copy of the letter.

However, while investigating issues arising from the letter, we have become aware that our only full-time Doctor, Dr Wolf, will be finishing up at the Tailem Bend Medical Practice (TBMP) in mid December and that Country Health SA has owned and operated the TBMP since 2009.

Sharing the letter with the Coorong Health Advisory Council Inc (HAC) representative, Annie Jager of Tailem Bend, we report that Annie quickly replied, stating in an email that the Coorong HAC has been, and continues to be, proactive in the pursuit of gaining a General Practitioner for the Tailem Bend Community and that all questions regarding the letter should be directed to the Regional Director (RD) Riverland Mallee Coorong Region for a formal response.  We also shared the same letter with Suzanne Nagel of the Coorong Health Service (CHS) Tailem Bend/Meningie District Hospitals and Health Service, who advised that CHSA had a strict process for media responses and that all conversations can only be with the RD.

Contacting the RD and raising some of the serious questions arising from the letter, we stressed the importance of clear and accurate communication – given discussions we’ve already had with concerned, ill informed residents.

With rumours concerning the Tailem Bend Medical Centre rife around Tailem Bend, our investigations revealed a growing number of concerned residents from within our district.

It has also become apparent that there’s a large number of good people doing a lot of work behind the scenes to resolve issues at the TBMC.

It was obvious that not all the questions raised in the letter could be addressed positively at this moment, however we asked for a practical, balanced response to the letter.

We also stated that we were confident that if the CHS require support from the community, it will be forth coming once they knew the issues being faced.

The response from the Regional Director, Riverland Mallee Coorong Region, Wayne Champion, was polite and prompt and we received the following response from SA Health Media Adviser, Dr Janet Pretsell PhD on Friday November 25.

Country Health SA is committed to ensuring the Tailem Bend local community has access to local General Practice services.

Unfortunately Dr Paul Wolf has indicated that he intends to resign from the Tailem Bend practice in order to pursue other interests, leaving the practice with no permanent GP.

Country Health SA is continuing to seek replacement GPs via the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency (RDWA), which is also supporting us with locum doctors in order to cover the GP vacancies.

In addition, Country Health SA is seeking expressions of interest for the Tailem Bend Medical Practice, which it has owned and operated since 2009, and is keen to explore alternative models of engagement to ensure provision of emergency, inpatient and aged care services to the Tailem Bend District Hospital.

Services provided at Tailem Bend District Hospital will continue throughout the expression of interest process and the local community will not be affected by it.  (END)

Given recent and ongoing events within our State’s metropolitan and country medical facilities, it may be worth taking a keen interest in what’s happening behind the scenes at the Coorong Health Advisory Council Inc (HAC) – we understand that there will be more opportunities to get involved next year.

Please feel free to continue to write to the Editor of Tailem Topics, but could you please supply a name if you wish your letter to be published.

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