Agnew upset about no doctors at Yamba health clinic

FOR Yamba icon Jim Agnew OAM this weekend should be a celebration. The first birthday of the Yamba Community Health Centre being operational should be a chance for the Lower River health campaigner to take a load off and appreciate his unrelenting efforts.

But it is not.

Instead for Mr Agnew he has been left wondering as the centre he spent years campaigning for remains not fully operational and without a GP on site.

"You don't know how disappointed I am with that centre," Mr Agnew said. "I don't know what I can do, there is nothing more than I can do there.

"It is so ridiculous, it has been finished for over 12 months and it is not fully working."

Dan Madden, executive officer, Grafton Base and MacLean District Hospitals said that response from local general practitioners (GP) in Yamba was the cause of a lack of doctors at the health centre.

"Originally YCHC was proposed to be developed as

a HealthOne Centre, which would have included general practitioner services," Mr Madden said. "

But this service model was not accepted by the local Yamba GPs, hence the development of the YCHC.

"NNSW LHD future plans are to further gradually expand the services provided from the YCHC. The YCHC community health staff will continue to work collaboratively with the local Yamba GPs."

Services available at the centre include pediatric occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy and dental therapy.

According to Mr Agnew the service model being used was unexpected as the development was always expected to house GPs.

"This amazes me," he said. "I was on the building and planning committee and we always had three rooms built purposely for doctors.

"When I asked why there was no doctors I was always told it was a computer issue.

"I pushed so hard for this centre because I wanted doctors in Yamba. The way it is set up, it is a fantastic building, state of the art."

Despite his disappointment, Mr Agnew remains hopeful the centre will be officially open soon.

"The sooner it is open the better it will be for the district," he said. "I would like to see it be opened properly immediately.

"I am anxious to see it open because I have worked so hard to get it there. It is not good, that is a lot of money to put in and not be used much."

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