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Health Minister and Ochre Health assures Bourke residents on medical services

Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman (seated at left) with CEO of Ochre Health Dermot Roche, and (standing from left) Acting Chief Executive of Western NSW Local Health District Mark Spittal, former Bourke GP and founder of Ochre Health, Dr Hamish Meldrum, Ochre Health Project Manager for Bourke, Damian Pennyfield, and Ochre’s Director of Medical Services, Dr John Hall. Photo TWH

The new medical services provider for the Bourke Shire, Ochre Health, has given guarantees that access to GPs will not be downgraded when they take over in March.

Bourke Mayor Harry Hollman has fought hard to ensure residents will continue to have 24/7 medical services after the contract was signed for Ochre Health.

Rural and Remote Medical Service (RaRMS) had been the provider for the past five years but when the Western NSW Local Heath District put the medical services contract out to tender, Ochre Heath secured the winning bid.

The tender specifications and the change-over raised concerns that telehealth services would replace face to face consultations, but after a meeting with Health Minister Brad Hazzard last week, Mayor Hollman said he was satisfied that medical services would remain as they were.

“The Bourke Shire had huge concerns about the amount of time a GP would be available but the Minister assured us there would be a doctor supplied 24/7 for all cases, so that’s a win for Bourke,” he said.

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