Wanniassa medical centre closure – UPDATED Now with added protest

geewasthatyou 4 August 2008 26

[First filed: August 03, 2008 @ 09:23]

A lot of people are angry about the closure of the Wanniassa medical centre.

When does business start to think about a community before profit?

[ED – Canberra Times story is here]

UPDATED: Apparently Annette Ellis (the Commonwealth Member for Canberra in case you’d forgotten) is organising a protest rally and petitions outside the medical centre at 9am tomorrow.

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26 Responses to Wanniassa medical centre closure – UPDATED Now with added protest
Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 10:03 am 06 Aug 08

The world needs more people who are prepared to point out stupidity when they see it. Expecting your own personal doctor at your beck and call who never, ever moves (even if it’s just up the road) is pretty nearsighted, as is confusing health care quality with convenience.

Re: GP numbers – Canberrans are the healthiest and longest-lived people in the country. If there is a shortage of GPs (and I don’t think there is), it doesn’t seem to have any adverse effect on health outcomes.

sepi sepi 9:46 am 06 Aug 08

Yep – he was rude as. His other comments about ‘everyone would like a pedicure and a coffee while they wait, but this is the real world’ etc were pretty confrontational also.

Some PR lessons needed there.

At the end of the day this business can do what it likes. But the level of unhappiness in the community reflects the lack of choice in Canberra. We have the lowest rate of GPs per population in the country, and it seems to be eroding all the time.

clw49 clw49 9:13 am 06 Aug 08

The attititude of whichever Bateman it was interviewed on the ABC yesterday morning was a reflection of the attitude to the patients and doctors from WMC. His “Are you a slow learner?” when asked twice to confirm that patients would be able to make appointments with their own doctor – and anyone following the discussion would have known exactly why the question was repeated – was insulting, even more so when the tone was taken into account.

geewasthatyou geewasthatyou 7:05 pm 05 Aug 08

there was agood turn out this morning i think PHC are getting the message, the more people ring [or fax if they wont take the calls] and sign the petition the better. and good on the pollies whoever they are for speaking up.

HA HA 2:56 pm 05 Aug 08

Primary Health Care won’t take calls. Try their financial adviser sCaliburn Partnership. Get some people power going here.

Ron Malek, Joint Chief Executive 0411 422 885
Roger Feletto, Managing Director 0418 485 190

HA HA 2:43 pm 05 Aug 08

Just phoned Primary to criticise this move, but they won’t take complaints over the phone. You have to write to them in Sydney. Pack of pricks if you ask me. Hit them where it hurts: in the hip pocket.

happy happy 2:29 pm 05 Aug 08

1. Fiction: It will remain independent for the time being, The moment the doctors start accepting the walk-in patients will be the moment this independence vanishes
2. They always had a choice between WMP or Phillip Medical. They chose WMP for a reason.
3. See point 1. I am not sure I believe this. If they are willing to cost-cut by upping and moving all the doctors from WMP then I do not believe they will be willing to keep the full set of staff for both practices
4. How often do the majority of patients require CT and Xray? Chemists are available everywhere anyway. This is just an attempt by Primary Healthcare to monopolise on their location and drive the other CT, XRay and Pathology centres out of business.
5. In full agreement
6. See point 1. it remains to be seen whether their will be any pressure applied on the patients to make them see a doctor other then their own.
7. The Doctors will be working shift work now (7am-10pm???), this is the kind of thing you do to trainee doctors working in hospitals. It is not the kind of shit experienced GP’s would expect to go through, especially ones with families and other comittments.
8. This move was made against the Doctors will! This should really be the main point. They are being treated like dirt by a large Private Company, going against everything they probably believe in.
I seriously hope Primary HealthCare gets brought to task for what they are doing to GP’s all over Australia (just read through news archives and you will see this happening everywhere with minimal resistance).

The last comment in the previous post:
wait 3 days for an appointment or wait 3 hours to be seen???
Anything deemed serious enough is generally slipped in on the same day. Most other appointments manage the next day.

thebiga thebiga 9:31 am 05 Aug 08

The facts :
1 the Wanniassa Medical practice will remain independent of Phillip Medical – they will simply share different floors of the same bulding
2 Wanniassa patients will have the CHOICE of an appointment with WMP or bulk billed walkin clinic downstairs @ Phillip Medical
3 the records systems will be separate as will be the staffing
4 the Wanniassa patients will now have access to CT, Xray and chemist in ONE place
5 wait times are a function of numbers of doctors vs numbers of patients – and there are’nt enough doctors in Canberra
6 you can choose your doctor in either organisation
We should be grateful that things are improving : wait 3 days for an appointment or wait 3 hours to be seen …. your choice

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 10:34 pm 04 Aug 08

I used to go to wanniassa medical centre but was finding it inadequate, the doctors seemed tired and bored, didnt care about what was wrong and i was still being charged an arm and a leg, even for follow up visits that they requested. So then I changed to foundation at erindale, which is becoming busier and busier, its hard to get the doctor of your choice on the day you need it (i.e, when you are actually sick!!!) and one in particiular is always running at least 30 mins late, despite only seeing each patient for 3 mins tops. although they always seem to deal with your ailments, and follow up care is geat.

I have been to phillip once for a chest infection, and the doctor didnt even listen to my chest, just wrote the script and i was out the door after waiting for 1.5 hours.

wouldnt want to be dying really… anyone have a good doctor in the tuggers area they want to share?!?!

LG LG 5:14 pm 04 Aug 08

Usually its the opposition organising protests.. not a member of the government!

Granny Granny 2:30 pm 04 Aug 08

We could always start an ‘Edmund and Henry Bateman Suck’ Facebook page.

: )

happy happy 2:18 pm 04 Aug 08

michae is correct.

It is Primary HealthCare that are forcing this move.
The Doctors all signed a contract with Symbion.
Primary HealthCare prevented a takeover bid by HealthScope of symbion (HealthScope only got 73.8% of the vote required to acquire Symbion, needed 75%).
Primary HealthCare initiated their own hostile takeover of Symbion, hence inheriting the contracts of the 7 doctors at Wanniassa.

Now Primary HealthCare is forcing the doctors to move to Phillip, hoping to convince them to become MegaMart 5 minutes/patient bulk billing doctors like those in Phillip.

Wanniassa medical Practice is profitable, it is just not as profitable as Phillip.

Edmund and Henry Bateman can all go to hell for what they are doing to these respected General Practitioners with 20+ years experience each in the field.

michae michae 1:59 pm 04 Aug 08

I am a patient at Wanniassa Medical Centre and am disappointed that they will be moving to Phillip. In its current form it is no different from a traditional family practice as I can make appointments with my own doctor who is excellent and whom I have seen over many years.

I am not sure that my doctor actually wants to move as it will result in the loss of relationships with established patients and they currently have a renovated purpose built building in which to practice. It is probably a way for the medical corporation which own the practice to cut costs on rental, reception staff etc and eventually the Doctors will have to work within the corporations more profitable model of medical practice which is walk in 5 min bulked billed consultations with any doctor with referral to have blood tests, x-rays and prescriptions from providers working for the Corporation.

I am very disappointed in Primary Health Care which is the company that is closing down this medical practice (Primary Health Care took over Symbion recently in a national takeover) They are putting their own profits ahead of quality medical care for patients living in Wanniassa and the tuggeranong valley. The people of Canberra should stand up and advocate for the patients and doctors working at this practice.

clw49 clw49 12:51 pm 04 Aug 08

My doctor moved to the Wanniasa Medical Centre twelve months ago because of a reduction in expenses with shared facilities, the lack of locums available in the ACT and a range of other logical reasons which we were given at the time, some three months in advance of the move. She saw it as a positive move -I assume the others who moved there did as well.

While I much preferred the small practice, if the move meant she could continue to practice I was happy.

I also find the lack of financial viability cited by the Symbion (or whoever it is running the centre) a bit strange – most patients there were not bulk billed. My last visit several months ago cost $60, and to see my doctor I would sometimes have to wait three days for an appointment. The waiting room was always full.

How is having them all move to Phillip and then bulk billing patients going to improve that? Where are the extra seven doctors going to fit? I’m hoping that they may change it so you can book an appointment with your doctor of choice – I can’t imagine that the 7 doctors who moved to Wanniassa would be happy about working shifts between 7am and 10pm and having the long term relationships they had built up with their patients completely negated – hardly a satisfying work experience for them. I do have to wonder if this move had been planned all along by the powers in charge – or perhaps I am too much of a cynic.

The further issue is that if I do want to find a doctor who does let you make appointments, will they be taking on new patients.

Feathergirl Feathergirl 11:49 am 04 Aug 08

I had a doctors appointment today to the Waniassa Medical Centre and my doctor was very upset she may be moving, she has not made up her mind if she will move across to Phillip. I don’t think it is the doctors who want to move at all, the company (Symbion)that owns the Waniassa Centre is the same company that owns the Phillip centre and I’m thinking they figure if they move the Waniassa staff in with the Phillip staff money will be saved on rent, reception staff, nurses etc. Most of the Waniassa doctors have contracts with Symbion and have no choice but to move across to Phillip. The reception staff were lovely when I went today, I did see one elderly lady come in and tell them she couldn’t get to Phillip and reception printed out bus time tables for her, but the elderly lady did not feel confident in catching the bus.

My doctor found out about the move on Weds 30/07 and they have to be out of the centre by Friday 08/08/08! I will miss the centre and wish all the staff there the best.

Hamilton Hamilton 11:07 am 04 Aug 08

“When does business start to think about a community before profit?”


Why don’t you quit your job and start helping homeless people? I can guarantee you’ll be thinking about profit over the community when you have to start eating the paint off the walls!!

RAGD RAGD 9:56 am 04 Aug 08

I agree that it is odd. They spent the best part of a year re-building the whole place, and I don’t think it has been that long since they had it finished. So why move somewhere else now? What was the point of spending time and money renovating the whole place and being an inconvinience to their patients and themselves, for them now to move somewhere else? I suspect that it wasn’t a “we want more money/business” issue. They have always been busy for the last decade, that’s why they spent money to make it a bigger practice. I suspect it was something to do with that ‘Symbion’ group.

VicePope VicePope 5:54 pm 03 Aug 08

This is sad – not my doctor, but I have heard only good things of this practice. It was clearly busy most of the time it was open, and George Chan, in particular, was doing well with one chronically ill person I know. First come first served will rob that patient of the opportunity to speak to someone who understands what is happening and who does not need a whole complex history explained. A poor decision, I fear.

el el 5:23 pm 03 Aug 08

The chemist has been there forever, and is one of the few in this town that is open late (and I’ve made use of this convenience on MANY occasions even though I don’t live all that nearby).

Clown Killer Clown Killer 5:17 pm 03 Aug 08

This ones a bit odd. The paint is hardly dry on the brand new, purpose built premises, and it was always busy (in the sense that you usually had to wait 2-3 days if you wanted to see the doctor of your choice).

The whole operation was run by a crowd called Symbyon (or somthing like that). A big corporate medical company. Perhaps the doctors don’t like their business model and have decided to vote with their feet.

I hear that a number of the doctors will be setting up shop in Philip – not as convenient for some, but not that far away either.

I wonder how long the chemist will last, now that the doctors wont be feeding them 15-20 customers and hour.

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