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Collapse Issue 578:<br />25 Sep 2023<br />_____________Issue 578:
25 Sep 2023
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
After-hours medical service announces closure*
Who isn't a fan of The Big Red Truck?
Varroa mite detection reported at Blackwall
Channel dredging to finish this week
Ferry company welcomes 'deeper and wider' channel*
Decisions soon on after-hours GPs and Urgent Care
Women's march calls for protection of 'sacred lands'
Clean-up in Woy Woy Bay nets 440kg
CWA branch recycles banners as tote bags and bunting
Help wanted to find missing plaque
Rail interruptions could get worse before they get better
Demolition order issued for Empire Bay Marina
Fundraising day for Mary Mac's Place
Rotary club raises almost $7000 at charity golf day
Police renew appeal for help to find missing woman
Volunteer firefighter has chainsaw training*
Have more trees and community education, says GUST*
Children to be taught to knit and crochet
Fly larvae could help recycle food waste, club told*
Service award for Marine Rescue member
Mingaletta to hold free school holiday activities
Online business wins national award*
Donations of mixed fruit wanted
New food pantry opens in Woy Woy
Rotary club to fund sewing workshop at Ugandan school
Community group runs plumbing workshop for women
Community garden holds produce swap*
Yellow theme at Rotary club fundraiser*
Run for The Voice arrives in Ettalong*
Paper quilling workshop to be held at library
Parliamentary recognition for Umina CWA*
Only 7.7mm of rain in two weeks
Application received for seven two-bedroom dwellings*
Arboretum seeks to change 'cottage' verandah design
Planning Panel withdraws permission to speak
Council seeks feedback on strategic plans
Key strategies unavailable for Austin Butler submissions
Panel told Peninsula strategic review is not planned*
Fourth attempt in 10 years to sell off open space
Bio-offset unlikely to be done in a hurry
Get behind Dr Duff to save after hours medical service
Stalls raise money for stroke recovery club
Hollywood event raises $29,500 for Cancer Council
Pat Hutch retires after more than 30 years' service
Maintenance staff become 'fish whisperers'
Aged care facility holds mental health activities*
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Free Fair Day is centrepiece of Coastal Twist Festival
Pride Poetry night to be held in Woy Woy
Youth dance at Mingaletta for Coastal Twist Festival
First concert 'with a rock vibe' at Pearl Beach arboretum
Americana theme at next Troubadour concert
Flash Festival to be held next weekend
Choir donates to Elsie's Retreat
Arts centre students prepare for annual exhibition*
Netball team makes it to North Sydney final*
Year 6 students return from Canberra visit
Students attend IT and cyber day at Newcastle Uni
College wins four Minister's Awards
Residents wanted as primary school ethics teachers
Head Start program to be held from October 18
Student wins phone for good attendance
Trivia night for the Raad family
Southern Spirit wins trial match
Surf club raises $9350 in 24-hour row
Soccer grand final win for Southern 45A team
New executive elected at bridge club
Super-size bridge field for AGM Pairs
Business house bowls competition planned
Everglades men play Major Pairs final
Most surf club members sign up again
Bowling club raises $1000 on RUOK Day
Association seeks interest in netball development squad
Bicycle group reverses 'boomerang' ride
Rugby club to hold annual general meeting
Turn out to try softball was 'fantastic'*
Junior Touch seeks expressions of interest
Wolves win A Division baseball grand final*
Soccer presentations planned for October
Ron wins Minor Singles title*



After-hours medical service announces closure

The Woy Woy After Hours Medical Service has announced that it will be closing this Friday, September 29, having operated for 50 years.

The service secured two years' fixed Federal funding to cover costs, but has been unable to find enough GPs to staff the service.

"The number contributing is now so small that we cannot reliably stay open, meaning we can't sign the funding contract to continue," said service director Dr Paul Duff.

"For a few years now, we have been depending on a small group of doctors doing much more than their fair share to staff the service.

"This year has seen a number of those doctors become unavailable, either because of retirement, ill health or because they are leaving the Peninsula."

The last clinic will run between 7pm and 10pm this Friday and will be staffed by Dr Duff himself.

The announcement coincides with the expected announcement tomorrow of the establishment of a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic in Umina.

Dr Duff said that the service had been set up in 1972 as a cooperative amongst the local doctors.

"At that time, they all were owners or part owners of their own small general practices and shared the work of staffing Woy Woy Hospital.

"This made them deeply committed members of the community and made working together to share the burden of after hours care just good sense," he said.

The after-hours cooperative of GPs was formed shortly after Woy Woy Hospital opened in 1972.

"Since then, we have had Gough Whitlam's Medibank and Bob Hawke's Medicare, the evolution of General Practice into a recognised specialty branch of medicine, the introduction of practice accreditation, the large scale of corporatisation of general practice and 40 years of Medicare neglect by successive Federal Governments," Dr Duff said.

"The small GP-owned practices that were at the heart of the service have all but disappeared from the Peninsula and the number of doctors who have been prepared to step into the breach of those older GPs as they have retired or wound down their practices has shrunk year by year.

"We have been appealing to the local practices for years to step up and to encourage their younger doctors to contribute but in spite of this more and more of the workload has been taken up by existing doctors with less and less fresh blood coming in," Dr Duff said.

"We have worked very hard over the last few months to keep the service running," he said.

"We are very grateful for the support we have received from our patients and the local community in the recent battle to lobby Government for the funding.

"In the end, the Federal Government did offer us a two-year funding agreement linked to a modest increase.

"This would probably have been enough to keep us going, although the rising costs of things like insurance and wages would have made this a challenge because the funding was fixed for those two years.", he said.

Dr Duff said the dwindling number of doctors prepared to work with the service had been "a looming issue that has been threatening us for years".

"You can't run a cooperative if no one is prepared to cooperate," he said.

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