Coast residents call ‘health crisis’ talks

Apollo Bay district’s Ray Nichols has called a public meeting to allow the community to voice concerns about being without 24-seven access to an emergency care doctor.

Apollo Bay residents are demanding a solution to their town’s “health crisis”, with no overnight access to an emergency care doctor, and are poised to take concerns to the State Government.

Marengo resident Ray Nichols said he called a community meeting for today after speaking with at least 50 fellow residents who want “an end to the community’s 24-seven health crisis”.

Professor Nichols said he believed the town lost its only doctor because of a lack of support and the town deserved and needed doctors to provide adequate around-the-clock health care to sustain Apollo Bay’s future.

Otway Health announced last month that Dr Mani Kutti’s departure marked “the end of an era in local medicine” and the Apollo Bay General Practice and Otway Health would “continue to provide the highest possible levels of care and support” for the community.

But Professor Nichols said he believed the popular doctor wanted to stay and Apollo Bay could provide a “golden opportunity for someone” but changes were necessary to keep doctors at the coastal service.

He said “honest engagement” with the small community was among the issues because Otway Health had said the service would operate normally, yet there was no doctor available.

“Registered nurses cannot give patients medication without a doctor’s order and we have the only health facility on the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Warrnambool,” Prof Nichols said.

“Apollo Bay has a large population of elderly people, and occupies a strategic spot on the Great Ocean Road where there’s a constant threat of accidents but we don’t have a 24-seven emergency service.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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