wonthaggi-medical-groupRe ‘Funding cut for Waterline nurses’ by Gav Ross, Sentinel-Times, March 18: 

After reading the article by Gav Ross, I gained the impression that some community members are of the opinion that the establishment of the Grantville Medical Centre is in some way related to the ‘withdrawal’ of funding from the nurse practitioner program.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As correctly reported in the article and confirmed by the CEO of Bass Community Health, the present Nurse Practitioner Program is a two-year pilot program that was always scheduled to end on June 30, 2014.
The funding issue is completely unrelated to the presence of the Grantville Medical Centre. Wonthaggi Medical Group has always had a great many patients who live in and around Grantville, Corinella, Bass, Pioneer Bay and Coronet Bay.
Due to transport difficulties, many of these patients experience difficulty in attending the Wonthaggi clinic. The practice therefore decided to try and improve accessibility for these patients by establishing a service in Grantville.
Wonthaggi Medical Group has always regarded the Nurse Practitioner program as complementary and from the outset the practice has been keen to work cooperatively with the Nurse Practitioners for the benefit of our patients.
Our objective was to establish a GP clinic at the Grantville Transaction Centre working hand-in-hand with the Nurse Practitioners. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure facilities at the centre for the number of sessions we deemed necessary to give local residents adequate access to our doctors. Indeed, we were restricted to a mere three days a fortnight.
However, from the time it was first raised with them, the senior management of Bass Coast Community Health Service has been supportive of the GP practice in Grantville and to furthering a cooperative/integrated approach to health service delivery.
The intent of our doctors is to provide the so-called ‘Waterline’ communities with the same level of access to general medical services as experienced by other members of the Bass Coast community. The present service at Grantville provides a single doctor full time and a supporting nurse-receptionist and it is proving to be a popular service.
In the near future this will expand to two doctors, a full time nurse and a receptionist. Also, the practice is in the process of enlarging the facilities by expanding into the adjoining premises.
This expansion will allow us to accommodate on-site pathology collection and other health services in the future.
In fact, a physiotherapist service (True Life Physiotherapy) will shortly open at the Grantville Medical Centre and we will be seeking to establish a visiting podiatry service, a diabetes educator service and trial a monthly obstetrics clinic.
It is the opinion of the Wonthaggi Medical Group doctors that the service located in Grantville will meet a growing community need and will be successful.
It is on this basis that the practice has been prepared to invest in the new facilities. The reality is that with the pilot nurse practitioner program ending in June and a government under severe budgetary pressure, the continuance of the program has always been in doubt.
Without the establishment of the Grantville Medical Centre by the Wonthaggi Medical Group, Grantville and the surrounding areas might well have found themselves without any medical service after June 30. This way they have the definite prospect of a significant and continuing improvement in health services and the possibility that the government may yet continue to fund the Nurse Practitioner program.
John Turner, Business Manager, Wonthaggi Medical Group.