Yackandandah could soon have access to a doctor five days a week with the town’s medical practice to change hands.
The Wodonga-based Central Medical Group has run the centre for 18 years, but following the resignation of a senior doctor in March, experienced difficulty recruiting.
Chairman David Tillett said Wodonga doctors travelled to Yackandandah to fill the gap, but there was still no replacement a month later.
“When recruitment proved very difficult we entered into discussion with a range of stakeholders to explore options for maintaining the service,” he said.
Aged care and community health provider Yackandandah Health expressed interest in taking over the clinic and chief executive Annette Nuck said the transition would begin in August.
“CMG have been wonderfully supportive in the process and Dr Tillett has offered to provide continual support while we learn the business,” she said.
“A lot of staff are staying, like Dr Tess Goodwin, and we’ll be looking for more doctors.
“Because there’s been some difficulty getting doctors in recent times, the number of functioning days at the clinic has decreased.
“Our initial goal will be to build that up to a five-day-a-week clinic.”
Chiltern has recently been left without a doctor again – Wodonga GP Alade Sululola broke the town’s five-month drought but has recently decided to wind up, citing a lack of patients.
Ms Nuck said Yackandandah was certainly not immune to such issues, and the community was proactive in addressing them.
“There’s been times where there hasn’t been a doctor for periods of time, as with most rural areas,” she said.
“It’s good for us it’s not a case of closing and it’s really good we’re not doing this from scratch. The Yackandandah community has a history of fighting to retain essential services.”
Yackandandah Health provides care to 67 aged residents and work will start next month on a $14 million development on new homes for up to 36 people.
Ms Nuck said taking on a medical clinic was a major turning point in the organisation’s 86-year history.
“We’re starting to expand into more primary health services,” she said.
“It’s exciting and we need the Yackandandah public to be patient with us, but support us.”