Monday, 9 January 2023
LOCAL State MP Adam Marshall has today made an urgent plea to Commonwealth Health Minister Mark Butler to intervene and overrule his own department, helping prevent the closure of the Uralla Medical Centre.
The Centre announced over the weekend that it would close permanently later this month, largely due to Medicare recently refusing its application for rural practice incentives, as a result submitting the required paperwork after the due date.
Mr Marshall said it was one of the worst cases of bureaucratic overreach he had seen.
“If this decision isn’t reversed it will have huge adverse consequences for Uralla and our region,” Mr Marshall said.
“I appreciate the importance of deadlines and accurate paperwork, especially in the medical profession, but with the viability of a critical rural medical practice on the line, a little bit of leniency should be considered and granted in this instance.
“I have written to Minister Butler this morning asking for his urgent intervention to have Medicare accept Uralla Medical Centre’s paperwork, so it’s closure can be avoided.
Mr Marshall said Uralla Medical Centre practitioner Dr Ricardo Alkhouri operated the only full-time practice in Uralla – a town without a hospital and an ageing population.
“The practice has around 3,000 patients currently on its books – more than the total population of Uralla – which highlights the critical importance of this practice to the wider region,” Mr Marshall said.
“This is an integral service for so many vulnerable and isolated members of the community.
“Without this practice open and available for patients, I am worried that many people will endure great distress and tragic health outcomes.
“We cannot afford to see this clinic close and the loss of medical expertise from the community and our region and I will do everything I can to ensure this does not happen.
“I hope and trust that Minister Butler will intervene quickly and give Uralla Medical Centre’s application the favourable consideration it deserves.”