$500,000 proposed for Condobolin Hospital upgrades

Members of the United Hospitals Auxiliary Condobolin Branch outside Condobolin Hospital's dilapidated nursing quarters. L-R: Mary Glen, Jill Broadley, Dawn Thomas, Francis Gavel and Joan Jamieson. DG

By Dominic Geiger

Member for Murrumbidgee, Adrian Piccoli, has announced $500,000 has been proposed for much needed upgrades to the Condobolin Hospital.

The upgrades will allow for improvements to be made to the hospital’s wards including painting, floor coverings, soft furnishings and air-conditioning.

The announcement comes after members of the United Hospitals Auxiliary Condobolin Branch established contact with Mr Piccoli earlier this year with a number of letters voicing the group’s concern about the existing problems affecting the hospital.

Last Friday, Mr Piccoli made representation for the group to the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner.

“I am very hopeful that we might see some funding flow to the works that are so desperately needed at the hospital shortly,” Mr Piccoli said.

“The concerns of the Auxiliary have now been examined and the Minister has responded.

“I was informed that Condobolin has recently had $145,000 in expenditure to upgrade duress alarms for patient and staff security.

“In addition, Condobolin has been listed with another 18 facilities on the current Asset Strategic Plan for future capital investment.”

Hospital Auxiliary treasurer, Francis Gavel, said the group was incredibly grateful Mr Piccoli had helped bring the problems at the hospital to Ms Skinner’s attention.

She also said however, that the group had been raising concerns about the hospital for the past ten years and that one of the group’s principal concerns, the state of the hospital’s nursing quarters, looked as though it might miss out on funding.

“The auxiliary sent a letter [to Mr Piccoli] in March which was mainly in regards to the poor condition of the nurses’ quarters,” she said.

“There have been various replies over the months and in the latest development there has been money allocated but not to the nurses’ quarters.

“The trouble is that maintenance has been left over the years and things that should have been done haven’t been.

“There are five single nurses’ complexes in the nursing quarter which are very shabby and very neglected.

“The hospital will never get staff if we don’t have decent accommodation facilities to offer them.

“It’s difficult to get nursing staff in the country as it is; we won’t get people from other areas if there’s no where to stay here.”

Quota offers hope for hearing

The Condobolin branch of Quota International has its ear to the ground this month with volunteers aiming to collect discarded ‘behind the ear’ hearing aids to help their fellow Quotarians in Ba, Fiji, give the gift of hearing to impoverished people in their village.

The campaign is being held in the lead up to National Hearing Week, set to take place from August 21 to August 27.

Vice President of Quota Condobolin, Ros L’Estrange, said it didn’t matter if the hearing aids were in working order or not, as Tom Shepherd, an audiometrist working in Ba, can make a good hearing aid from three discarded ones.

“Many people in Fiji have hearing problems as there is no vaccination program for rubella as we have here, and little or no help from their government,” she said.

“So check to see if you or any of your friends have any old ‘behind the ear’ hearing aids and just bring them down to Shortis and Timmins Pharmacy where we have a collection box.

“It is a simple way to give a wonderful gift, the gift of hearing, to disadvantaged people.”

24 hour helicopter campaign takes off

Lachlan Shire Council will give full support to the Mayor of Orange to achieve a 24-hour emergency helicopter service.By Dominic Geiger

The Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, has recently thrown his support behind the project to establish an Orange based 24 hour emergency helicopter retrieval service for central and western NSW.

Although an emergency retrieval helicopter currently exists in Orange, the service is only funded to operate during daylight hours.

This means if a person requires emergency transportation after 6pm the service is unable to respond.

Des said it was important to establish the service as a 24 hour operation because the hour of the day doesn’t determine people’s health.

“[Lachlan Shire Council] will be giving its full support to the Mayor of Orange and that council to achieve this project,” he said.

“I think it’s a matter of common sense and a matter of money that’s affecting this project.

“When you’re talking about how much money you put towards an emergency service I think [in this situation] it’s completely worth it.”

If established, the helicopter would service the majority of the central west including the Lachlan Shire.

Following the Mayor announcing his commitment to the project at last Wednesday’s council meeting, council moved a motion to create a petition in support of the project which will be made available for Lachlan Shire residents to sign.

Des will also join a delegation to the NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, which will seek an immediate commitment to extend the retrieval service to 24 hours.

The campaign to establish the emergency helicopter follows the last month’s NSW Ambulance Service’s decision not to consider the 24 hour service until 2012.

NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, said the Auditor-General’s report in September 2010 stated that NSW Ambulance had reviewed the need to extend the operating hours of the Orange helicopter during 2009.

“That review identified there was not a sufficient demand at that time to warrant an increase to a 24 hour service,” she said.

“Prior to the election, I said I would again review the need for a move to a 24hr aero medical retrieval service in Orange.

“This has been done.

“The advice I have received shows there has been no change in aeromedical activity in the Central West, which is why there is no need to commit to a 24/7 operation at this stage.

“In line with the Auditor-General’s report, a state-wide review will be carried out before the regional helicopter contracts expire in December 2012.

“This will determine if there is a need to switch to an extended service in Orange.”

Condobolin pneumonia patient put out in the cold

By Dominic Geiger

When Heather Cannon’s husband Owen was checked into Condobolin Hospital suffering from a bout of bilateral pneumonia last Wednesday, she expected to be notified when he was ready to be discharged.

Imagine her surprise then, when Owen simply arrived on their doorstep without warning early Friday morning.

“It was about 9 o’clock, and it was a very cold morning with a cold wind blowing,” she said.

“I didn’t mind him being discharged, it’s just that staff are supposed to ring when someone is ready to be picked up.”

Though the Cannon’s only live a short walk from the hospital, Heather said she was incensed that someone who had just recovered from pneumonia could be left to walk home in the cold.

“Owen’s still no better, he’s still sick,” she said.

“I worked at the hospital for 25 years and I thought there was protocol staff were supposed to follow.”

A spokesperson for Western NSW Local Health District [LHD] said it was not hospital protocol to contact Next Of Kin [NOK] or family members unless instructed otherwise by an adult patient.

“Discharge planning is completed for all patients requiring care at any facility within Western LHD,” the spokesperson said.

“Patient requests are also respected if they do not wish for their NOK to be contacted.

“We endeavour to include the family or carers in the care planning where indicated.”

The spokesperson said the Health Service took all complaints seriously and the claims are being investigated.

“The Health Service has discussed with the person their concerns,” the spokesperson said.

New doctor begins work in Condobolin

Doctor Nishantha 'Nishan' Abeydeera has begun practising at the Melrose Medical Centre in Condobolin.By Dominic Geiger

The Condobolin community’s access to quality health care has been augmented this week thanks to the addition of a second doctor to the Melrose Medical Centre.

Doctor Nishantha ‘Nishan’ Abeydeera joins the Condobolin community after spending two years practising in the emergency department of the Swan District Hospital in Perth.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Doctor Nishan said he spent five years working in a naval hospital before making the decision to immigrate to Australia with his young family.

“My wife, who is an architect, and I brought our children to Australia after we were approved for permanent residency,” he said.

“After arriving in Perth I did my exams and got full registry.

“I wanted to be a GP, and I thought there would be more opportunities for my children in NSW, so I applied for this position in Condobolin.

“We first visited Condobolin two months ago and, although we thought it was very remote, we also thought it was in a beautiful area and the people we met were very friendly.

“Because our kids are still in primary school we made the decision to come to a town where there is a good school.

“I also got a good deal from the NSW government to come here; I think we will be able to enjoy ourselves and it will be a good experience for the kids.”

Doctor Nishan said he wanted patients to feel as though they can spend as much time with him talking about any medical concerns they might have.

“This is my first time as a GP in Australia so I’d like to spend as much time as possible with patients,” he said.

Doctor Nishan will also be travelling to Tottenham regularly to provide medical services to the community.

New health council at Condobolin Hospital

By Dominic Geiger

The inaugural meeting of the newly formed Condobolin Hospital health council was held last Wednesday July 13.

The council, which is made up of thirteen Condobolin community representatives, was established to provide members of the public with a voice to express concerns in regards to local health matters.

Condobolin Hospital health service manager, Kevin Ryan, said members of the public were encouraged to voice their concerns regarding health matters to council members.

“This is about the council be advocates for the community on a wide range of issues,” he said.

“These issues could be anything that affects the health needs of the local community.”

Kevin, who is also on the health council, said it had been some time since a health council had existed at the hospital.

“We haven’t had a council for a number of years,” he said.

“At the meeting we elected Michael Timmins as chairperson, Matt White as vice chairperson and Terryll Cassidy as publicity officer.”

Other members of the health council include Alese Keen, Margaret Riley, Lesley Bell, Francis Gavel, Peter Harris, Shaun Mitchell, Jill Slennett, David Salter and Christine Keen.

Health council meetings will take place on a monthly basis with the next meeting scheduled for August 17.

Veterinary services for Condobolin

Dr Alistair Grant with Condobolin local Sharron Brown of “Three Peaks”. By Olivia McInnes

Veterinarian Dr Alistair Grant of the Don Crosby Veterinary Surgery in Narromine, made the trip out to the Condobolin showgrounds last week to treat some local creatures feeling the effects of our lack of local veterinary staff.

His visit to Condobolin brought a great response, with the day being completely booked out with appointments weeks before his arrival.

The main casualties for the day were horses, with a range of work to be done including vaccinations, freeze branding and general checkups.

Dr Grant came fully prepared with everything from a digital x-ray machine and equine dental gear to endoscopy and ultrasound facilities.

Veterinarian and spokesperson for the Don Crosby Veterinary Surgery, Sara Falkiner said, “we would like to be able to service the Condobolin area as we realise the difficulties encountered by the locals with not having a local vet.

“The Narromine Veterinary Hospital already services several Condobolin clients, so it seemed logical after the closure of the Condobolin Vet Clinic to work out how best to service this area and ensure that Condobolin can still access veterinary services.

“This visit will be followed by another visit in a few weeks. We would like to be able to offer this as a regular service” she said.

Condobolin blood donations not in vein

Betty Ticehurst,  Dorothy Keefe and Kellie De Grande with nurses Jacky Chapman, Therese Goodacre and Sue Rollin. DGBy Dominic Geiger

Approximately 50 Condobolin residents rolled up their sleeves to donate blood last Wednesday when the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Central West Donor Mobile visited the town.

Blood Van nurse, Gale Turnbull, said it had been a slow start to the morning, but by ten o’clock a good number of donors had shown up.

“We’ve had 40 people who have actually booked today however we estimate there were another ten or so who just showed up,” she said.

“It’s always a better idea to book ahead though.”

Gale said she thought the turnout was fantastic, however many of the donors hadn’t been drinking enough water prior to their visit.

“We are encouraging people to drink four to five glasses of water before they come in when we visit next time,” she said.

“We will be back in Condobolin here at the RSL Club in three months time on October 13.”

Gale said she wanted to send a heartfelt thanks to everyone in the town who donated.

“There are now a lot of very appreciative people out there,” she said.

“Each donor can give enough blood to potentially save three people.

“So from today that’s around 150 products for people who really need it.”

Appointments for the Blood Van’s next visit in October can be made by calling 13 14 95.


GWAHS warns of STI outbreak

NSW Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) is currently conducting a campaign in order to warn young people between the ages of 15 to 29 about a recent explosion in detection rates of Chlamydia in the Central West.

Statistics show that since 2000 there has been a 300% increase in the sexually transmitted infection.

Clinical Nurse Specialist at GWAHS, Helen Woods, said there were a number of myths surrounding the illness which was adding to the increasing detection rates.

“Common misconceptions include people thinking they can tell if someone else has an infection, and by only having sex with one other person they’re safe,” she said.

“While Chlamydia is a common and easily treated condition, a person will often not know if she or he has it as 50% of males and 80% of females will not show signs or symptoms,” she said.

“This is why Chlamydia is known as the silent infection.”

Helen said Chlamydia could cause pelvic inflammatory disease and cervicitis in women.

“Pregnant women will bear the burden of this disease,” she said.

“It increases the risk of premature rupture of the membranes and low birth weight.

“It may also be implicated in cases of infertility.”

In addition to recent ‘pee in a pot’ visits around the Lachlan Shire where young people were encouraged to provide urine samples for Chlamydia testing, GWAS is also encouraging anyone who thinks they may be at risk to contact 1800 816 925 for information on where to receive a free, confidential sexual health test.


New doctor for Condobolin

Condobolin is set to welcome yet another doctor to the community thanks to the ongoing partnership between Lachlan Shire Council and Ochre Health.

Doctor Nishantha Abeydeera will begin work at the Melrose Medical Centre alongside Doctor Obi Ekeocha from July 18.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Doctor Nishantha began practising in the Perth suburb of Middle Swan two years ago and has recently made the decision to move to Condobolin.

Doctor Hamish Meldrum, Director for Medical Services at Ochre Health, said Doctor Nishantha would also be replacing the locum doctor in Tottenham.

“Doctor Nishantha will be travelling to Tottenham every now and then to service that community during the week,” he said.

“Doctor Obi has also been working with a locum doctor at the Melrose Street Medical Centre.

“We at Ochre Health are very keen to establish a permanent doctor for Tottenham and a second doctor for the Melrose Centre.”

Call for helipad at Condo Hospital

Lachlan Shire Councillors have recently renewed their investigations into the potential for a helipad to be constructed at Condobolin District Hospital.

Formerly located on the patch of land next to McDonnell and Cunningham Streets, the helipad was relocated to the Condobolin airport when construction on the Wiradjuri Study Centre began several years ago.

Health Services Manager at the Condobolin Hospital, Kevin Ryan, said a helipad located on hospital grounds would provide tremendous benefits for patients.

“Patients wouldn’t have to be double handled in the event they needed to be airlifted to another hospital,” he said.

“They wouldn’t need to be taken out to the airport in an ambulance before being [put in a helicopter].

“In situations involving spinal injuries, for example, being able to deliver patients straight from the hospital to a waiting helicopter would be an incredible advantage.”

Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said although the aim was to be able to get patients directly from the hospital to a waiting helicopter, further studies still needed to be done regarding the possible location of the helipad.

“Aviation people will have to agree on a site that is safe, though the ideal is to get something as close as possible to the hospital,” he said.

“There may be a site on the northern side of the hospital that is suitable, but we will have to wait.”

The call for a helipad coincides with the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, opting not to reconsider the need for a 24-hour Orange based rescue helicopter until late 2012.

A campaign involving numerous local shires including Centroc, has since begun, with councillors, health professionals and community groups condemning the decision.

Red Cross wants blood

Blood samples taken by the Red Cross Blood Service. Many patients in Australian hospitals rely on donations for survival.By Dominic Geiger

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is calling for all Condobolinites who are able to donate blood to make a visit to the Central West Donor Mobile when it visits the town on Thursday July 7.

The Donor Mobile will be based in the RSL Club’s car park from 8am to 1pm, however donor beds will be set up inside the RSL building itself.

Red Cross Blood Service Coordinator, Gemma Eames, said the Donor Mobile visit would be a chance for the Condobolin community to make a real difference in the lives of many patients in Australian hospitals who rely on blood products for survival.

“An hour of your time could mean a lifetime to someone else,” she said.

“There is no substitute for blood and we need blood of every type, every day to save the lives of thousands of Australians.

“We are asking Condobolin residents to please do something special; give blood.”

Gemma said winter was a particularly difficult time of year for the Red Cross, as with the cooler weather blood donations drop off.

“We need to ensure there is enough blood to help those who need it,” she said.

“We also want to encourage people in Condobolin to make appointments to donate blood on the day because it helps us speed up the process.”

People interested in donating blood are urged to call 13 14 95 or visit our website www.donateblood.com  to get an idea of what to expect and for further information on donor eligibility criteria and blood donation.

Those who have donated before can also call 13 14 95 to make an appointment.

Information for new donors: On the day of donation, all blood donors need to eat a substantial meal, drink 4-5 glasses of water and bring your donor card or photo IDTo donate blood you must: Be aged between 16-70, have not had a tattoo in the last six months, not be pregnant and have not given birth in the last 9 months and/or are not currently breastfeeding, be over 50kg (over 45 kg if under 18, not have low iron, and not have not lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative period of 6 months or more.

Generous donation for Condobolin Hospital

By Dominic Geiger

Family and friends visiting loved ones in Condobolin Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit are now able to ease their minds with a tea or coffee following the donation of a zip boiler and sink to the ward.
Condobolin resident, Doug Norton, decided to make the donation due to the excellent care his wife Diana received before passing away at the hospital.
Kevin Ryan, Health Service Manager at Condobolin Hospital, said the donation would help visitors as they frequently spent long periods of time with patients.
“Visitors are often here day and night [so the donation] will help make things more convenient for them,” he said.
“Doug saw a need to make a donation as he was very happy with the care his wife received.”
“He thought visiting patients would be made easier if visitors were able to make tea.
The hospital is very grateful for the donation; it will really help the relatives and friends of  patients here.”

New breast cancer nurse for Lachlan Shire

New breast cancer nurse for the Lachlan Shire, Dianne Green.By Dominic Geiger

Women of the Lachlan Shire and surrounding districts now have access to a dedicated McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse following the arrival of the highly experienced Dianne Green to the region.
Based in Parkes, Dianne will provide physical, psychological and emotional support for families who are dealing with breast cancer, from the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment.
Dianne said people from outside Parkes were able to call Parkes Community Health Centre to organise an appointment. “They leave a message, I get back to them and we organise a time for me to visit them,” she said.
“I also do phone support and everyone, even if they’ve been undergoing treatment for a long time, is more than welcome to contact me.”
Dianne said a large part of helping patients deal with breast cancer was providing information.
“When women are diagnosed, I provide and fit them with a free Burly Bra, they get a journey kit for when they need to get treatment and I sit down with them and explain everything I can,” she said.
“I also liaise with medical teams and coordinate the services required.
“I try to make the circumstances as [unstressful] as possible.”
A registered nurse for 22 years, Dianne said she began specialising in breast cancer when she felt she couldn’t give women suffering from the disease the correct information.
“Women would come to me who weren’t sure of their results following treatment,” she said.
“As a registered nurse, I wasn’t qualified to answer a lot of their questions, so I did a Graduate Certificate in Breast Cancer Nursing in 2007 and I’m currently studying a Masters in Breast Cancer Nursing.
“I don’t think any woman should be alone [when fighting cancer].”
Dianne  also said a women’s health information day would be organised with Leonie Parker at the Condobolin Hospital in the coming weeks.
The Breast Care Van is currently in Condobolin until June 28 and can be contacted on 13 20 50.
Dianne can be contacted by calling Parkes Hospital 6841 2222 or the McGrath foundation on 8962 6100.

New health services manager for Parkes and Forbes

By Dominic Geiger

A new Lachlan Health Service Manager has been appointed to oversee the running of health services for the communities of Parkes and Forbes.
Catherine Nowlan, who officially began the position in late March, said she was currently focussing on sharing resources between the hospital campuses of the two towns to create a more sustainable approach to healthcare.
“We have already started twice daily bed management meetings with the unit managers at the two hospitals to see if there’s a need to share resources,” she said.
“We look at who’s where and if anyone needs support.
“Twice a week we do the same thing with Orange Base Hospital.”
Catherine said she believed she had been selected for the job based on her extensive experience with health, her masters in health administration and her interest in rural health.
“I have worked in Birdsville and Alice Springs [among other places],” she said.
“Although Birdsville is a small town, it experiences 30,000 tourists a year and I was one of only two nurses at the hospital.
“As a nurse in Birdsville you cover the hospital, all the tourists and a 196,000 km2 area, so you go Birdsville to Bedourie with the Royal Flying Doctor Service as back up.”
Prior to beginning her new job, Catherine worked as the site manager for the two hospitals at Bloomfield and Orange.
Catherine said she was looking forward to creating a more harmonised health service for residents throughout the region.
“With two (hospital) campuses sharing all resources we can be more sustainable,” she said.

Grandmother appeals after child driven 130kms for medical aid

Wendy Norris’ granddaughter was driven from Burcher to Temora for medical attention.By Dominic Geiger

An extremely dehydrated eight month old child was driven over 130kms to Temora hospital last Sunday night following the poor handling of a phone call to the Condobolin Hospital.
The child’s grandmother, Wendy Norris, said she had been treating baby Alice for vomiting and diarrhoea over the weekend.
“As a grandmother, I managed her, doing things people usually do for sick kids because we knew there were no doctors [in Condobolin] we could see on the week end,” she said.
“Late Sunday night, Alice’s father Adrian took her home to Burcher but at 10:30pm he called me and said Alice was still vomiting and not eating or drinking.”
Wendy then gave her son directions to call Condobolin Hospital where he received advice on how to manage Alice’s condition.
Despite this, Wendy said “at no stage did [the hospital staff] say to bring Alice in.”
“Adrian then rang West Wyalong hospital on his own accord and was told there was no doctor available there or on call,” she said.
“At 1:15am Alice was still vomiting and loosing fluid so Adrian called Temora hospital and was told that, if he was so concerned for Alice’s health, to bring her over.”
Alice has since made a full recovery after seeing the on call doctor in Temora and being placed on antibiotics.
Wendy said she thought it was appalling her son wasn’t encouraged to take Alice to Condobolin Hospital as a precaution.
“Condobolin may have doctors in place though is the hospital actually open or do we get turned away after 10pm?” she said.
“We have a wonderful hospital, but is it operating at its full capabilities or are the doors closed and we can’t access the hospital system?”
A spokesperson for Western NSW Local Health District said the organisation was unable to comment on the specifics of Alice’s case, however the spokesperson confirmed “a local doctor is on duty or on call for emergencies at the Condobolin Health Service at all times.”
“Patients who require treatment after hours are advised to present to the Hospital’s Emergency Department for a full assessment, triage, and treatment,” the spokesperson said.
“The Western NSW Local Health District takes all complaints very seriously; we would be happy to meet with the family to discuss any concerns they have regarding the Condobolin Health Service.”
The spokesperson also said If a person is seeking medical advice over the phone, they are advised to call the Health Direct Australia line on 1800 022 222, which provides expert health advice 24-hours a day to NSW residents.

Charity drive rumbles into town

By Dominic Geiger

The deep rumble of a convoy of cancer fighting cars and the haunting tunes of a Scottish pipe band marked the arrival of the Cruisin’ Along Care West Charity Drive in Condobolin last Friday night.
After arriving in town, the drivers made their way to the Condobolin Sports Club where a barbecue had been organised to celebrate the visit.
Co organiser and Mayor of Orange, John Davis, said the rally visited towns that had been supportive of the Care West Lodge project.
The Care West Lodge, which is adjacent to the new Orange Hospital, will provide support and accommodation for rural cancer patients and their carers.
“Condobolin has been very supportive with the project and has raised in excess of $50,000,” he said.
“The lodge will be finished in June so if someone has cancer, comes from a rural area and needs to be treated in Orange, there’ll be a facility available for them, their family and friends there.
“The fact is, it’s a great cause because one in every three Australians is affected by cancer.”
Dee Barnes, who made the journey from Orange as part of the drive, said she’d had a great time both as part of the convoy and at the Sports Club.
“We’ve been well looked after tonight,” she said.
“I’ve been to the Care West Lodge and I get involved because it’s great to support such a helpful initiative.”
The Condobolin RSL Pipe Band also put on a well received performance for the visitors.

Removal of medicare access points

By Dominic Geiger

The recent Federal Government decision to begin removing all 840 remote Medicare Australia Access Points (MAAPs) has prompted condemnation from various Lachlan Shire health and political representatives.
Medicare Australia Access Points (MAAPs) allow access to basic claiming for regional and remote communities and are currently located within the Lachlan Shire at Shortis and Timmins Pharmacy in Condobolin and the Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) in Lake Cargelligo.
Hank Jongen, Human Services Portfolio General Manager, confirmed late last week that the Lake Cargelligo MAAP would be closed within the month with the Condobolin MAAP set to follow “sometime before 2013.”
“On average, the Lake Cargelligo community have made less than one call per day from their booth over the last 21 months,” he said.
“Electronic, internet and phone claiming options are making MAAP booths redundant.
“Customers now do not… have to leave their homes to claim their Medicare rebates.
Condobolin Pharmacist, Michael Timmins, said he felt the removal of the MAAPs would severely disadvantage those in the community who weren’t IT literate.
“This is not a satisfactory situation for the elderly or for those who are not familiar with using computers and the internet,” he said.
“Those who are in my age bracket of 60 plus will struggle with the changes.
“Our MAAP has quite a bit of usage and we’ll be holding onto it for as long as possible.”
Mark Coulton, Federal MP for Parkes, called the removal of the MAAPs a “reckless decision.”
“Medicare Australia has failed to consult with the public on this matter, and has failed to provide a viable alternative for people in these communities to claim,” he said.
“They are forcing people to use their services online, which for many elderly people is impossible.
“Not only can they not afford internet services with the skyrocketing cost of living, many do not have the skills to navigate to the website.
“The affects the closure of these booths will have not only on the individuals who use the booth, but also the places these booths are located such as the local rural transaction centres.”

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