New doctor’s surgery will ease Gympie shortage and bulk bill
THERE are two questions Goldfields Plaza shoppers ask Steve Rigby as they walk past the new medical surgery he is fitting out.
“Do they take new patients? And do they bulk bill?”
The answer to both questions is yes, according to Mr Rigby and his boss Tim Jaremus.
The clinic they are building for Dr Dia Al Khatshen promises to make a big impact on Gympie’s often reported doctor shortage.
The doctor says he will be moving to the near-Gympie area to administer the new clinic, in the hope of expanding to seven doctors, seven days a week.
And everything will be bulk billed.
For now, the new clinic is being fitted out by specialist health care building firm, Fitsin Commercial Fitouts, of which Mr Jaremus is director.
He and Mr Rigby are converting the former open-plan newsagency to a medical clinic which promises to be a significant boost to GP, specialist and allied health services (including physiotherapy) in the Gympie region.
As well as seven consulting rooms, the clinic has emergency treatment and pathology facilities, all adjacent to a pharmacy and in a shopping centre with plenty of parking in the CBD.
“It will be a convenient medical precinct and we’re looking forward to opening in the first week of January,” Dr Dia said.
“We’ll start out with two doctors, five days a week from 8am to 6pm.
“From there we want to expand to seven doctors, seven days a week,” he said.
The former Noosa doctor who recently set up a new clinic at Helensvale on the Gold Coast, says he and his family are looking forward to moving to the Gympie area.
And he hopes other doctors will see what he sees in the area.
The Goldfields site promises convenience with easy parking and a CBD location.
“We know a lot of people can’t afford extra costs and we plan to do as much bulk billing as possible.”
That and the hoped for weekend opening hours should mean greater convenience and, with no extra charges, he said.
“This would improve prevention and take a load off hospital emergency departments, where patients often end up eventually.
“We’re waiting on things like plumbing approvals, IT installations and all the other things that have to come together in a medical practice, so we can go live in the New Year,” he said.