TAMWORTH is striking while the iron is hot and capitalising on an increasing demand for healthcare as the city’s population rapidly climbs.
At a time when healthcare in the bush is widely publicised as scarce and under-resourced, news a $5 million medical facility is on the cards for Tamworth is welcome news.
An application is before council to develop a three-storey medical centre adjacent to the Eastpoint Shopping Centre, which will include a pharmacy, general practitioners clinic, skin clinic, pathology and medical imaging centres, a cafe and a childcare centre.
When people look to move to new areas, healthcare options play a fairly significant role in luring would-be residents.
Having a multi-million dollar healthcare precinct – on the back of the recent hospital redevelopment – is a hefty hook for the city that’s historically suffered from the maldistbution of medical resources across urban and rural regions.
Developer Derek Miller has mooted the facility to be the “best allied healthcare centre in New England apart from the hospital”.
It couldn’t come at a better time.
Last month, a report called on improved pathways for nurses and allied health workers to practice regionally, addressing the maldistribution of the country’s health workforce.
It was in the wake of two Tamworth psychologists lifting the lid on how scarce mental health resources were in the region.
But things are now looking up.
Earlier this month, Tamworth made a name for itself as a heavy hitter in the fight to build the regional health workforce, when the University of Newcastle’s department of rural health celebrated its best retention rate of graduating students deciding to kick off their career in Tamworth.
Having the resources and facilities in Tamworth is only going to make the city and region more desirable for health workers to migrate to.
Recent research revealed an “alarming” divide between outcomes for cancer patients in the country and the city, with the rural cohort the underdog in that fight.
Mr Miller says the East Tamworth Medical Centre is being developed to cater for the increasing healthcare needs of a growing Tamworth population and is expected to be the largest allied healthcare centre in the New England. It is a timely and welcomed shot in the arm for our local medical sector.