BAWRUNGA is not a name familiar to many Coffs Harbour residents, but the Aboriginal-owned non-profit medical service is likely to become much better known in the years ahead.
Bawrunga Coffs Harbour GP Super Clinic Ltd has been chosen by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing to construct a purpose-built $7.7-million GP Super Clinic for Coffs Harbour, expected to open in late 2013.
When fully operational, the clinic is planned to accommodate up to eight GPs plus allied health services, offering bulk billing, ample parking and a welcoming atmosphere for patients and their families.
The parent organisation of the new Super Clinic is the Bawrunga Aboriginal Medical Service, which operates six non-profit bulk-billing medical centres on the Mid North Coast, Western NSW and in Sydney, including centres at Toormina, Nambucca Heads and Macksville.
“Today is a very exciting day for both Coffs Harbour and for Bawrunga,” said Leavina Reid, the CEO of Bawrunga Aboriginal Medical Service.
“The GP Super Clinic will be a place where patients can access multi-disciplinary, integrated, team-based approaches to care for their entire family.
"Some surgeries are not the most friendly places – we want a restful and relaxing place for families who need to come with patients.”
“Bawrunga’s GP Super Clinic, like all of our other medical centres, is open to the whole community but has special skills and a focus on delivering high quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare as well as high quality services to the broader community.
“In recent patient satisfaction results we achieved results from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients which saw well over 90 per cent of our patients strongly recommending our doctors and the services we provide to others.”
The GP Super Clinic will focus on bringing a range of new GPs and allied health services to Coffs Harbour as well as working with local GPs who might wish to work in this new way of delivering primary care.
“The GP Super Clinic is aware of difficulties patients have in accessing GPs, the challenges of an national GP workforce which is ageing and the health challenges which face Coffs Harbour,” Ms Reid said.
The new clinic will focus on delivering services including general practice, allied health, nursing and other health and medical services with a specific focus on patients with a chronic disease or at risk of developing conditions like diabetes.
Ms Reid said negotiations were currently under way with Coffs Harbour land owners and further details of the GP Super Clinic’s location and services would be made available in the coming months after discussions with both the health sector and local government.
Nambucca Valley Aboriginal elder Auntie Emily Walker, who is the Bawrunga Chairwoman, will also chair the new Super Clinic Board, which will include a lawyer and an accountant and will have both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal members.
Ms Reid said Bawrunga also planned to retain its Toormina clinic.