The Coolah community is up in arms over the loss of one of its two local GPs, the planned closure of its local medical centre and the loss of its staff.
Dr Abbas Haghshenas Adermanabadi has been a GP servicing Coolah for half a decade, having originally been contracted for only three months in a locum position.
Dr Haghshenas was in Coolah as a Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) and was working with Western NSW Health and Rural and Remote Medical Services Coolah (RARMS) for the time he was not working in Coolah Hospital to provide GP services to residents.
His departure leaves Coolah with just one GP, and patients could be forced to travel to Dubbo, Gulgong, Mudgee or elsewhere for health services or in an emergency.
Dr Haghshenas' decision to leave arose from a contract negotiation between NSW Health and Dr Haghshenas, the terms of which Dr Haghshenas was unhappy with.
Dr Haghshenas announced his departure via a Facebook post on a Coolah community page.
"I would like to inform you that my days in Coolah have come to a rather abrupt end despite my wish," he wrote.
"What started as a three month stint in 2015, turned [in] to a five year commitment. I enjoyed serving Coolah, made many friends..."
RARMS CEO, Mark Burdack said they had been forced to close the Coolah Medical Centre, with the decision coming down to a question of financial viability given the departure of Dr Haghshenas.
"Without the doctor generating medicare there isn't any income coming in to pay for the nurses and the practice manager and the reception staff and so forth and what we need to make a practice operate. So unfortunately we were then as a result forced to announce the closure of the practice," he said.
"We have put in place locums for the next few weeks. We will be paying for that, and we'll keep all the staff on who are on Jobkeeper until Jobkeeper runs out."
I would like to inform you that my days in Coolah have come to a rather abrupt end despite my wish.Dr Abbas Haghshenas Adermanabadi
Mr Burdack also said they will waive the fees for patients to have their records transferred to another doctor.
RARMS was hoping to hire another GP to service the area and financially stabilise the practice thanks to the increased income from another GP however with Dr Haghshenas' departure this is no longer possible as any new doctors are required to be supervised by another clinician who has already been practicing in town.
RARMS confirmed the Coolah Medical Centre will close on July 17.
"The Coolah Medical Centre contracted Dr Haghshenas from the Local Health District to provide GP services. Without a local GP, and with ongoing uncertainty about the direction of rural health services in Western NSW, RARMS is no longer able to continue services in Coolah," RARMS said in a statement to the community.
"This outcome is extremely disappointing to RARMS which had been working hard to recruit another GP to help make the Coolah Medical Service sustainable in the long term."
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