Dongara loses doctor

Midwest Times
Dongara Medical Centre.
Camera IconDongara Medical Centre. Credit: The Midwest Times, Geoff Vivian

Irwin Shire is looking for two locum GPs after Dongara’s only full-time doctor announced he would be leaving Batavia Health after January 24.

Dr Soe has been commuting from Geraldton for six years to conduct daily clinics in the Shire-owned building operated by the Geraldton medical practice.

Owner operator Dr James Quirke said he was sad to see Dr Soe leave the practice.

“Dr Soe has been a constant and reliable provider in Dongara,” he said.

“It’s a major blow to the practice and it’s timely to review our operating model to see if there is a better way to deliver general practice services in the local community”.

After a number of doctors left the Mid West at the end of 2018, Batavia Health had been sending visiting doctors to the Dongara Medical Centre three days a week.

“It was intended that this would be for the short term,” Dr Quirke said.

“However, we have been unable to attract a doctor to Dongara and our current operating model is unsustainable.

“The centre is a significant asset for the community and it is important that the region maximises benefits from the facility.”

Irwin Shire president Mike Smith said he was “very conscious” of Irwin’s aged demographic and “other critical medical requirements” within the community.

“I will be working with councillors and the CEO to ensure we do our utmost to address the health needs of our residents,” he said.

Besides advertising for locums, Mr Smith said the Shire would be consulting the community early next year in bid to find a more permanent solution.

“The CEO with Rural Health West are working towards presenting to Council options for a more permanent solution at the March Ordinary Council Meeting, or sooner if possible,” he said.

“In the meantime, patients currently attending Dongara Medical Centre will be able to continue their health care at Batavia Health in Geraldton from the end of January 2020.”

Dr Soe and his family are moving to Perth.

— Geoff Vivian

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