STAFF are expected to be inducted into the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre as early as next week, as the clinic moves one step closer to opening its doors.
Mackellar Care Services CEO Sandra Strong confirmed to the NVI this week that the lease for the transition had been signed off on.
“Hunter New England Health (HNEH) has actually signed off the lease and we're just waiting for the federal government - the Department of Health - to sign-off for the novation of the deed - that's the novation of the funding agreement,” Mrs Strong said.
“We're expecting to commence some staff inductions on Monday and finalising the maintenance work that we've been doing.
“We'll have the approval to run the super clinic but we'll still have the doctors to employ.
“We've got a chief medical officer but we haven't been able to offer contract to any other person [because the deed isn't signed off].”
Mrs Strong fears it will be harder to employ staff the closer it draws to Christmas.
“We really appreciate the comments that have come from the community about the improvement in the surroundings, the gardens, that our gardening staff have been able to do around the clinic itself,” she said.
“We’re thanking the community for its support that the board has been able to take on this venture. It has taken perseverance to achieve this community result.”
READ MORE (October 5): Hunter New England Health opens up on Gunnedah Rural Health Centre decision
HNEH property manager Eddie Pirillo confirmed “all documents associated with the transiton of the facility to Mackellar Care Services” have been signed.
“While we await advice from Mackeller Care Services that the final documentation has been completed, we are working with them to enable important early works,” Mr Pirillo said.
“This includes providing Mackeller Care Services with access to the building and surrounds from 30 October 2017.”
READ MORE (Oct 12): Mackellar Care Services to relaunch health services
The closure of the GRHC has been at the centre of heated public interest, as residents lament the doctor shortage across the shire.
The clinic has been without a doctor since July 12 – five days after the GRHC board appointed Alan Hayes, of Hayes Advisory, as voluntary administrator.
Mr Hayes put forward a proposal to the state and federal governments in August that outlined Mackellar Care Services as the preferred party to operate from the clinic.