Doctors 'need not fear' super clinic

THE Brisbane-based operator of Lismore's newly awarded super clinic has responded to local doctors who criticised their appointment by the Federal Government.

On Tuesday the Northern Rivers General Practice Network questioned why a not-for-profit proposal by Lismore doctors was overlooked.

Meridian Health Care's John Brice said yesterday that, while he respected the network, he said their fears were unfounded.

"All my doctors are members (of the General Practice Network) so I understand what the network has done and respect them for doing it," he said.

"I think their original motivation was to maybe keep the outsiders out, but I've been operating up on the hill (in Goonellabah) and quietly doing a fairly hefty job for years now.

"The opportunity to apply for the super clinic came along, we applied, we obeyed the mandate and criteria within the application and God bless the world, we were successful."

Mr Brice also said the network's fears of transient doctors flying in and flying out would not eventuate.

"I've had the same doctors since I started (in Goonellabah) and the three doctors coming into Lismore are coming in to settle," he said.

"We're currently the only 100% bulk-billing service in town, we've got about 8500 current patients - growing at a rate of 30 to 40 patients a week - and 2000 of those are indigenous, so we do look after the indigenous population.

"We all know the town is taxed in numbers of doctors to patients and, by the network's own admission, there is a shortage, so that's a good thing and it's all positive."

Mr Brice said that while his Goonellabah clinic would double in size, little would change.

"We already follow the super clinic ethos which is affordable, high-quality, primary health and preventative health care for the masses," he said.


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