Caroline Ryan (right), a family health nurse and lactating consultant with the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre, with Robert
Caroline Ryan (right), a family health nurse and lactating consultant with the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre, with Robert

Parent service under threat

By JANE GARDNER

LOVING parents Robert and Rebecca Carr have three well-adjusted kids. But even they need a hand to cope with the demands of a new baby.

The couple drove from Palmers Channel near Iluka yesterday with their 10-month-old baby Grace to spend a day learning parenting tips at the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre in Lismore.

However, the free post-natal service will close soon if no one continues to fund it.

"I think with the help of this centre, we have become better parents," Mr Carr said.

"The kids are happier, we get more sleep and we can be sure the kids are getting everything they need.

"If it closes down, the closest one will be in Brisbane or Sydney, and that's too far to travel with a baby."

The NRFCC is in financial trouble after the Northern Rivers General Practice Network announced they could no longer afford to fund it.

The network approached the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) to take on the $180,000 running costs, but was knocked back.

Member for Lismore Thomas George has since joined the push to save the centre, which operates rent-free out of St Vincent's Hospital.

"It is extraordinary the NCAHS has refused to fund the service. Why are we missing out when other regions have secure funding to run these vital Family Care services?" he asked.

Chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, Chris Crawford, said the service couldn't afford it.

He said the only funding the NCAHS had was being poured into Lismore Base Hospital. A meeting is scheduled between the NRGPN and NCAHS on May 4 to discuss the issue further.



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