The Medical Centre is without a full time doctor after a ruling at the Bogan Shire Council meeting last Thursday.
The Nyngan community is in uproar after the council decided not to renew Dr Merran Auland’s contract, six months after opening the centre.
The council released a statement via social media on Saturday saying it had unanimously decided to maintain its policy that any doctor practising at the medical centre had to have Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) rights at the Nyngan Hospital.
“This was a result of long-standing community feedback that it was important for patients to be treated in hospital by their own doctor if necessary,” the statement said.
“Council has regretfully had to inform [Dr Auland] in line with this policy decision unless VMO rights were negotiated she would not be eligible for a new contract.”
Community reactions on social media strongly supported Dr Auland. There were 61 comments on the post with all but 19 speaking out in favour of her. The other posts were ‘tags’ of peoples names. The post was also shared 28 times.
“Isn’t it about time we put people before policy? After all that’s why policies were drafted in the first place, beyond a shame, look at the bigger picture,” local business owner Angie Armstrong commented.
Some residents are concerned about finding another doctor as qualified as Dr Auland – and willing to live in a remote community like Nyngan.
“Where is council going to find another doctor as talented, obliging and pleasant as Dr Auland and prepared to live here, or are we going to subjected to a different locum each time we visit the medical centre?” Mary Burley asked.
“Surely council could see that having visitation rights at the local hospital was not a priority with the majority of patients using the medical centre. Continuity of having the same GP each time we visit greatly outweighs whether the doctor will be the one to attend when and if you are admitted to Nyngan Hospital.”
General manager of Council Derek Francis said Councillors will have an opportunity to discuss all community feedback at the next meeting.
According to council despite Dr Yuk Chan operating in a council owned building he does not need to have VMO rights, however any doctor wishing to practice in the medical centre needs them.
The council have instated a locum doctor from Wednesday.