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Wanniassa medical centre closure – UPDATED Now with added protest

By 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.

What’s Your opinion?

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26 Responses to
Wanniassa medical centre closure – UPDATED Now with added protest
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

sepi 2:45 pm 03 Aug 08

If a doctor wants to shut up shop or move they are entitled to, just like anyone else.

This just shows how sneaky Simon Corbell was in pretending to take credit for the addition of two new doctors to the Ainslie medical practice earlier this week. Where GPs choose to work in the ACT is nothing to do with the local govt, and yet they try to take credit when it is going well, but wash their hands of the situation when conditions are deteriorating.

Vic Bitterman 1:02 pm 03 Aug 08

What Miz said.

I don’t know where this Wanniassa medical centre was, but Foundation Helathcare in Erindale (Wanniassa) is 30 metres from the shops, has lots of doctors and I have always been in the see a doctor (usually mine) on the same day I call up. They work on appointments, not a ‘rock up and wait for hours’ model.

They bulk bill for kids too.

tom-tom 12:26 pm 03 Aug 08

this is sad, waniassa was mine and my families practice and its closing will mean either a massive hassle or a loss of continuity of care. That said buisness is buisness, if the place was losing money it would have closed anyway.

for the record i think katy’s playing it smart trying to push through a new medical centre in the area. she gets her fair share of flak here so credit were its due.

Granny 12:09 pm 03 Aug 08

The ‘walk-in’ model is particularly awful. I would not use a medical practice of this type by choice.

I do feel for the patients involved, although it is good that the doctors are offering the courtesy car and home visit services.

There must be a reason so many doctors are leaving the area, and they do also need to put food on the table.

I am sure they would probably prefer a more intimate and involved approach to their patients, and would have deliberated at length over such a major decision.

Pandy 12:07 pm 03 Aug 08

Why should a business not think about progit? If you want to have a community organisation running at a loss, have the town council prop one up.

miz 11:06 am 03 Aug 08

Foundation at Erindale are good and to the best of my knowledge not going anywhere?

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