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Canberra Today 15°/18° | Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Government supports troubled Walk-in Health Centre

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith at one of the walk-in centres around Canberra.

A CANBERRA medical facility will enter voluntary administration before it opens.

The National Health Co-operative (NHC) made the late-night decision Monday evening on the future of the Coombs Walk-In Health Centre.

An administrator has been appointed to the facility that was set to serve the Molongo Valley was scheduled to open on July 1.

Despite the sudden setback days out from its first patients seeking medical attention, the ACT government has given reassurances it remains “absolutely” committed to the clinic.

“We understand the NHC will continue to trade on a business-as-usual basis for the time being, with no disruption to services,” a government spokesperson said.

But considerations of the board of the over recent weeks have meant that the government could not enter into the planned sub-lease and undertake the required fit-out of the facility.

Initial discussions between government officials and the new administrator were to explore what options are available to establish the new centre as “quickly as possible”.

There is no indication from either parties when the Coombs centre will now open.

“We will continue to update the Molonglo community and other stakeholders over the coming weeks as this work continues,” the spokesperson said.

Ongoing discussions with the administrator and the landlord will assist the government to understand the proposed continuation of Coombs services and the availability of space at the current building.

The government says it has been working collaboratively with the NHC for months towards delivering and honouring its 2020 election commitment over the walk-in health centre.

Part of the proposal was the facility would be co-located with the Coombs GP clinic.

“This partnership presented an opportunity to deliver better integration of care with general practice,” the spokesperson said.

The centre plans to offer maternal, child and family health services in a growing area and under the NHC model of healthcare, it would be a “major” contributor for bulk billing services in the ACT to provide an “affordable and accessible” healthcare for thousands.

The Coombs Walk-In Centre is one of five newly established facilities across Canberra.

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Andrew Mathieson

Andrew Mathieson

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