The most important thing in our community is health, the operating aspects and the infrastructure. The council has limited responsibility for these and can only be an influencer.
When the above stops functioning it is difficult for the council to intervene. We have tried and are being criticised for doing so. We will keep activating until we get a resolution.
The council, in its strategic plan, identifies community wellbeing and aged care as a high priority.
Responsibility for health funding starts off with the federal government, who pass on most responsibility to the state.
The state splits this to SA Health and Country Health. Not all activities are state responsibility and one which sits outside these responsibilities is the provision of doctors.
Country Health can provide locums to fill voids as was the case at Kimba until the appointment of the new doctor, and in Cleve.
The council wrote to the Country Health SA chief executive officer asking them to do the same for Cowell. This was not acted on.
When the council received the petition from more than 300 residents, we escalated the request to the Health Minister and received a very dismissive response.
Behind all of this is Country Health and the Hospital Advisory Committee (HAC). Whereas HAC has endorsed the main initiatives we wrote to the Minister about, the Country Health view is that the Mid Eyre Health model is adequate, and as provision of doctors is not their responsibility, they will not help.
Who is responsible for provision of doctors? According the SA Health, Country Health, federal health and the Minister – none of the above. It appears the Rural Doctor Workforce Agency is funded by state and federal money to assist with appointment of doctors. Despite saying they would accept instruction from the existing doctor or HAC, they have not advertised the position.
Dr Francis and his team have been doing a great job providing a limited service. They are prepared to provide more services but need premises to operate from.
The current surgery is leased to our non-functioning doctor for the next year.
Country Health have offered temporary use of the old surgery in the hospital.
They do not believe this to be satisfactory so are holding off.
Franklin Harbour mayor