Country North SA Medicare Local (CNSAML) has moved to reassure the Coober Pedy community that it is open for business and continuing to provide services, despite pre-Budget speculation about the possible closure of Medicare Locals.
CNSAML chief executive Kim Hosking said the reporting should be treated purely as speculation.
“It’s the sort of conjecture that you would expect in the wake of the Federal Government’s review of Medicare Locals and the lead up to the Federal Budget,” he said.
“I’m confident the Federal Liberal Government had a good grasp of the health needs of country people and the challenges associated with providing quality health care in Australia’s vast and thinly populated regions.
“CNSAML provides health services at more than 30 locations across the north and west of SA, including Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and Roxby Downs and we are seeking to employ a Partners in Recovery facilitator in Coober Pedy to help people affected by severe and persistent mental illness.
“That’s why I find it hard to accept the speculation that the Federal Liberal government would take the drastic step of closure as suggested in the national media,” he said.
“There are challenges for health that we are tackling in partnership with local communities and health professionals who know first hand that SA does not stop at Gepps Cross.”
Mr Hosking emphasised that the bulk of CNSAML’s funding was spent on frontline services for the community, including mental health and allied health.
“For example, we provide about 19,000 occasions of service for mental health each year, spread across 30 locations, from Ceduna to the Barossa Valley and from Yorketown to Coober Pedy”.
“If those services are shut down, it would have an enormous impact on the clients and their families and many would have to travel to the city to see a clinician face-to-face because it is so hard to get private practitioners to the country.”