HELPING HAND: Donald Cleary is recovering after having a fall and visited the clinic in Ulong for a check-up by NSW TAFE trainee nurses.
HELPING HAND: Donald Cleary is recovering after having a fall and visited the clinic in Ulong for a check-up by NSW TAFE trainee nurses.

Health-check clinics a welcome addition

IT'S been 12 months since the call went out across the Coffs Coast from the village in the valley.

Only a one-hour drive from Coffs Harbour CBD, the township of Ulong has been without a local doctor for 20 years.

Steve and Carol Cleary run the Ulong store/post office, the heartbeat of the town, and are also Rural Centrelink agents for the Eastern Dorrigo region.

During the past few years, Carol has been working with North Coast Primary Health Network, under its Community Voices program, to establish an outreach clinic at Ulong.

"Even though we still haven't received a GP to service this area, we have made some positive steps,” Carol said.

"(Including) a monthly commitment from the NSW Tafe nurse training department to hold clinics at Ulong on the first Tuesday of every month at the Ulong Hall.”

The first of these health-check clinics began this month and were offered free of charge for residents on the Eastern Dorrigo.

The clinic was staffed by a registered head nurse and two trainee students, who answered a lot of health-related questions from valley locals and performed various health checks for patients including taking blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Complementing these services were aged care checks, some referrals to skin clinics, as well as first aid and wound dressings.

"I have also had a verbal commitment from North Coast Primary Health Network for a grant to build a clinical space within the hall, purpose built for future health needs,” Carol said.

"It is envisaged that other health professions will join in on these outreach clinics to provide an array of health services for the residents of the Eastern Dorrigo, including women's and men's health, exercise programs, mental health, wound care and maternity care.”

If you are a general practitioner interested in knowing more about the clinic opportunities, phone Carol Cleary on 66545320.



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