Ballina medical centre closes
By DAWN COHEN
STAN WOODLANDS is one of more than 1000 patients left stranded without medical care after the closure of the East Ballina Medical Centre.
The 87-year-old war veteran is panicking that he will be unable to find another doctor close to his home.
"We feel the blow pretty hard," Mr Woodlands said yesterday.
"My wife and I were good until 84, but now we go to the doctor about once a fortnight.
"Taxis cost a lot."
The medical service closed for an indefinite period last week because the owners could not find a general practitioner to work there.
More than 1000 patients have signed a petition for government help to reopen the centre, according to the one of the owners, Chris Lomax.
Other shops in the East Ballina Shopping Centre are also at risk, including Proudfoot's Pharmacy.
The six-year-old practice was owned by Dr Marlene Pacy until August last year, when she relocated to the Gold Coast.
When the doctor could not find a buyer, landlord Chris Lomax and his partners decided to find a general practitioner themselves.
"We wanted to keep the medical centre going, but little did we know how hard it would be," the Ballina solicitor said.
They approached local practices, but they all said they were too busy to open a new branch.