A NEW specialist medical centre in Tamworth could open its doors by mid-next year after an application was lodged with council.
Developers have lodged their intention to build a $1.14 million medical facility on Ringers Rd, in the Longyard precinct, to attract a bevy of specialist medical professionals to the area.
The 325-square-metre building would house four consultation rooms, two treatment rooms and two hubs for teleconferences, operating up to seven days per week.
Developer, doctor Bi Mian, noticed a shortage in specialist care when working as a locum doctor in the Tamworth district.
“I essentially saw a huge shortage of specialists in Tamworth and how some of the patients had to travel to get any sort of specialist care,” he said.
“What I am trying to do is bring in additional, non-GP specialists to plug the need for this specialty care.”
Dr Mian said topping the list of professionals to attract to the area would be ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, neurologists and geriatricians.
“ENT is probably the one on everyone’s minds,” he said.
“Tamworth doesn’t have a geriatrician at all, it has six nursing homes and a pretty big elderly population.
“It is something that is very needed.
“I work in the emergency department and see how a lot of elderly people come through the doors and then leave and come through the door again with the same problem.”
Dr Mian said the model would work on a fly-in-fly-out basis with regular visits by specialists and some appointments catered for via tele-health technology.
“One of the big problems of getting specialists into regional Australia is a lot of them still want to maintain their inner-city contacts and ongoing education,” he said.
“In-between that we can utilise tele-health. But I’m a firm believer that all initial consultations should be face-to-face and you can’t really replace that.”
The project is the third major medical facility for the city in the space of a year, following a proposed new Aboriginal medical centre in the area and work underway at a three-storey centre in East Tamworth.
Mayor Col Murray said the new facilities, alongside the new Tamworth Hospital, confirmed the city’s place as a “genuine health hub”.
“It’s really pleasing to see that the health and investment sector is acknowledging one of the strongest needs of the community,” he said.