Radio Doctor Illawarra has announced it will cease its after hours, home visit medical services to residents and visitors of the Kiama Municipality on 1 October 2018.
The service has operated in the Kiama Municipality since 2014 but the decision has been caused by a number of factors including the loss of a grant and government cuts to the after hours rebate which means the service is not viable.
Chairman for Radio Doctor Illawarra, Dr Darryl Bryant said that, “These funding cuts by the government mean it is not viable to operate in the Kiama area where patient numbers are low. Various efforts to obtain additional funding or regional concessions have been made but have fallen on deaf ears”.
Radio Doctor Illawarra is a not for profit, member based Co-operative which provides bulk billed, after hours, home visit medical services. It was established in 1974 and is one of the oldest after hours medical services in Australia.
Chairman of Radio Doctor Illawarra, Dr Darryl Bryant said, “The government decisions which have forced this closure are deeply disappointing and a backwards step which will increase pressure on local doctors, our emergency services and cause unnecessary hassles for people accessing appropriate medical care”.
Member practices from the Kiama area are disappointed at the loss of the service which has provided them with respite from after hours commitments.
Local Kiama GP, Dr David Grant said, “Local doctors will again have to be on call nights, weekends and public holidays. This is very demanding and can place a lot of strain on doctors many of whom have family commitments or have worked many years being on call. Contracting after hours coverage to Radio Doctor Illawarra was a very satisfactory solution”.
Radio Doctor Illawarra will continue to provide its services to most suburbs within the Wollongong and Shellharbour Local Government Areas. After 1 October 2018, Kiama residents and visitors should contact their local GP, Health Direct phone 1 800 022 222 or attend the nearest Emergency Department for after hours medical support.
Enquiries: Dr Darryl Bryant, Chairman 02 4271 1699
Frank Wallner, General Manager 02 4227 3251