Mon. May 27th, 2024

The decision by Services Australia to withhold funding which threatened to close the Uralla Medical Centre has been overturned after the intervention of federal Health Minister Mark Butler.

A spokesperson for the Minister said that as soon as the situation in Uralla was brought to his attention the Minister’s Office instructed the Department of Health to work with Services Australia to review the situation.

“All accreditation issues are now resolved.”

“The decision to withhold payments has been overturned and payments will be made to Uralla Medical Centre.”

“The Department of Health will continue to work with the Uralla Medical Centre, the Rural Workforce Agency and the Hunter New England Primary Health Network (HNECPHN) in assisting the centre.

Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, who with the Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and Uralla Mayor Robert Bell had asked the minister to intervene, is celebrating the win for the community.

Mr Marshall thanked Minister Butler for his speedy intervention, which he said meant the Centre would remain open.

“Everyone will be breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight,” Mr Marshall said.

“This is really positive news and I know the community will be deeply appreciative of the Minister Butler’s quick response to achieve this common-sense outcome for Uralla, Dr Ricardo Alkhouri and his clinic,” Mr Marshall said.

“I hope this situation never be repeated, in any community, as it was one of the worst cases of bureaucratic overreach I’d ever seen.

“Thankfully, it’s now been resolved and I trust Medicare has learnt a lesson about the critical nature of rural general practice and how much we value it here in country areas.”

“This is yet another example of good old fashioned people power winning the day.”

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