Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin has embarked on a fact-finding tour to find best-practice models that will help plan Grafton’s proposed $5-million GP Super Clinic.

Ms Saffin and State Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell last week inspected the Goonellabah Medical Centre, where two of its directors, Dr Andrew Binns and Dr David Guest, briefed them on how GPs and allied health professionals work as a team under one roof to improve patient care and achieve greater efficiencies.

The MPs last night in Grafton (Tuesday, July 22) gave their impressions of this local ‘super clinic’ to a community consultation meeting attended by doctors and practice managers, public health administrators and users of the health system.

The Goonellabah Medical Centre has 12 consultation rooms which are used by seven GPs, four psychologists, a dietician and visiting specialists.

It also boasts two small operating theatres, a nurses’ mini ward and an on-site pathology service.

As far as possible, the administration of patients’ records is done electronically.

Ms Saffin said she and Mr Cansdell planned to visit another private super clinic in Tamworth and two of the South Australian Government’s new Health One clinics in Adelaide when their schedules allowed over the coming months.

“It is important that we see first-hand some of the existing ‘super clinics’ which are working well elsewhere in Australia, particularly in a suburban or regional setting,” she said.

Ms Saffin is keeping Federal Minister for Health Nicola Roxon updated on the progress of the $18-million Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment and on the establishment of a GP Super Clinic.

Ms Roxon recently advised that the Commonwealth Department of Health was working closely with NSW Health to ensure the smooth rollout of eight GP Super Clinics in New South Wales.

“Local consultation is a key part of the implementation process; it will help identify the needs and priorities of the community and allow local health professionals and community members to provide input into tailoring the service mix of each clinic,” Ms Roxon wrote.

Ms Saffin said a local working group of interested parties would continue to meet regularly so that when Ms Roxon’s department held a formal consultation meeting in Grafton, scheduled for early next year, the community could provide a clear idea of what type of clinic it wanted to build.