The Elmwood Medical Centre in Wodonga is celebrating 10 years in business.
It has come a long way since first being established in a house with one doctor and one receptionist and today offers nine consulting rooms and employs seven doctors, three nurses and four receptionists.
Owner Craig Ford said a lot of planning went into establishing the centre in Wodonga.
“We researched the whole of regional Victoria for the right place to establish a centre like this. Our aim was to set up a city style clinic in a rural area and offer service and convenience not yet available in the area.”
Craig and his wife Maia, who had a background in medical centres, relocated from Melbourne to Wodonga to build Elmwood.
The clinic was the first centre to offer total bulk billing services and Craig says it set the benchmark for medical services of its type on the border.
“Our philosophy is that we believe all Australians are entitled to medical services regardless of their financial situation.
“There has been a medicare freeze since 2010 – i.e. we receive the same income we did in 2010, yet rent, wages, electricity and other expenses have risen each year. Even though this makes it harder to offer bulk billing we are 100% committed to it in the future,” said Craig.
Ten years on Elmwood has seen a range of improvements including the construction of new consulting rooms, the addition of a chemist on site and the added services of allied health practitioners such as a dietitian, diabetes educator, podiatrist, clinical psychologist and occupational therapist.
They also have pathology collection on site. With a cafe next door it offers the chance to grab a coffee and something to eat before or after your appointment.
It’s been a busy 10 years with Craig estimating they have seen around 38,000 patients in that time.
“We are always aiming to improve our services,” said Craig.
“We recently introduced on-line appointments which has been a really good addition. We will soon install solar panels to reduce costs and I hope one day we can go totally off the grid.”
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