Idea to reuse private hospital

LISMORE will get a GP super clinic unlike any in the country if Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin gets her way.

Ms Saffin yesterday said she was lobbying Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon for funding for the super clinic and hoped she would visit the city during the campaign to formally announce it.

Ms Saffin said she began lobbying after being approached by the Northern Rivers GP Network with a plan to turn thedefunct Lismore Private Hospital building into a super clinic that would provide a broad swathe of services, including after-hours access to general practitioners aimed at keeping people well and out of hospital.

GP Network chairman Tony Lembke said the clinic would cost about the same as other super clinics being built across the nation, but because the infrastructure was already in place, would be able to provide far more for the money.

Dr Lembke said the network was already providing family care services through a room at the former hospital, but with the extra funding for a super clinic it would be able to radically expand services to include things like chronic disease management, allied health and rehabilitation services.

“We think Lismore needs better investment in services that let people keep well at home, and that building could be a hub for community-based services,” Dr Lembke said.

The clinic would also fit in with the North Coast Area Health Service's efforts to keep people out of hospitals by promoting better health within the community.

Lismore isn't the only centre in line for a super clinic. Richmond MP Justine Elliot has announced Tweed Heads would get one of the clinics if Labor wins next month's election.

Ms Elliot was not available yesterday to be interviewed about the Tweed Heads clinic.

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