CONSTRUCTION of a groundbreaking community approach to healthcare is underway in Mirboo North.

The Mirboo North & District Community Foundation (MNDCF) is building the new medical facility to realise a joint vision with the Mirboo North Medical Centre to improve healthcare in the district by ensuring sustainable and expanded access to GP bulk billing and health services for future decades.

Langden Constructions of Traralgon has been appointed to build the modern and spacious medical clinic and allied health facility on the main street of Mirboo North.

MNDCF chair Paul Pratt was excited to achieve the milestone after a busy year for volunteers on the project control group.

“Land on Ridgway was purchased, a state-of-the-art medical facility was designed, the planning permit was obtained and a tender process carried out,” Mr Pratt said.

“The appointment of Langden Constructions and the award of the planning permit means that the activity will be much more visible to the community in the coming months, running up to our targeted completion date of September 30, 2021.”

Once built, the spacious medical facility will be leased to Mirboo North Medical Centre, which will enable the principle general practitioner, Dr Sonya Moncrieff, and her team to expand their services.

There is room for four full-time GPs and access for various allied health professionals to rent rooms so locals don’t have to travel as far to receive expert healthcare.

“We are thrilled that the planning phase of this project has been completed so quickly and look forward to the building being completed with much anticipation,” Dr Moncrieff said.

“The current curtailed space means we have had to turn away extra doctors who want to work in the area in the past, as well as only offering a limited amount of allied health services.

“Our move to this new facility in October 2021 will allow every person in the area to access a much more comprehensive health service.”

The facility is expected to meet the needs of the community for the next 30 years and to help attract high-quality medical practitioners on an ongoing basis, making the service sustainable for the senior citizens who wish to continue to live independently in the rural area.

In addition to the expanded medical service offering, the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation and Mirboo North Medical Centre agreement secures a bulk billing medical service for the community.

“I am passionate about continuing to offer a bulk billing service which means that no one person in our care is financially discriminated against when it comes to accessing healthcare,” Dr Moncrieff said.

This is the MNDCF’s first “impact investment”, which means the building project is not a grant, but an investment with both a financial and a social return.

In this case, there will be a smaller financial return, in terms of rent paid for the facility, and a larger social return, in the improvement to the health and wellbeing of the community.