Dispute leaves doctor locked out

A DISPUTE between the landlord and the owner of the Yamba Family Practice has left general practitioner Dr Maggie Simpson locked out of her clinic, hundreds of patient records in limbo and three staff unemployed.

Dr Simpson and staff arrived for work at the clinic on Wednesday morning only to discover they could not access the clinic or the patient records held within.

"I want to make clear that this was something that was out of my control and I feel for my patients," Dr Simpson said.

"Essentially I've been caught in the middle."

CEO of North Coast Medicare Local, Vahid Saberi said it was an unusual situation and was keen to reassure patients a temporary solution had been found, at least for Dr Simpson and her patient records.

"It is my understanding is that the clinic has now closed and Dr Simpson has chosen to move," Mr Saberi said.

"Dr Thakur of the Clarence Medical Centre in Maclean has negotiated an agreement with the owner of the clinic to pass on the patient records."

However Mr Saberi said there was a question mark over the future of the practice.

Dr Simpson relocated with her young family to Yamba from The Netherlands in November 2011 to take up a position at the Yamba Family Practice.

"This situation was the last thing I expected after emigrating, I am happy that my patients can now access their records and that I can continue to practice in the area, with Dr Thakur and his team," Dr Simpson said.

The owner declined to comment, saying "it is a matter between lessor and lessee, which is subject to further discussion and litigation".

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