Irwin Shire council has agreed to buy the Dongara Medical Centre for $1.45 million. The council made the decision at a special meeting on Thursday night — and also approved a five-year contract for a new permanent doctor. The future of medical services in the Shire have been under a cloud since the withdrawal of Batavia Health on January 24. In a statement released today, the Shire said that after a lengthy public consultation process it had decided to initiate the process to buy Dongara Medical Centre for $1.45 million. Chief executive Shane Ivers said the public consultation had given a strong mandate from the community for the Shire to prioritise the acquisition. He said the contentious issue within the shire was the source of the funding and if it would affect rates. These issues would be considered at the April council meeting. Since the departure of Batavia Health and Dr Zaw Soe, the shire has been without a permanent doctor, instead maintaining operation of the centre through the support of locum doctors. On Thursday night, the Shire voted to approve a contract for new principal GP Dr Sasha Risinger. Dr Risinger has operated previously at Carnamah Family Medical Practice and Three Springs Medical Centre.