Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rushworth residents concerned at GP's resignation

About 100 people have directed their anger at Goulburn Valley Health after the resignation of Rushworth's contracted medical practitioner.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK June 20, 2014 3:51am

Rushworth residents pack the town's hall to hear from Goulburn Valley Health after their GP Gary Berryman resigned.

Rushworth residents have blasted Goulburn Valley Health for not consulting the community before the resignation of the town’s contracted medical practitioner after just 18 months in the job.

About 100 residents gathered at the Rushworth Shire Hall on Wednesday night to question Goulburn Valley Health executive director clinical operations Donna Sherringham about the resignation of Waranga Medical Clinic’s full-time GP Gary Berryman.

Mrs Sherringham said Goulburn Valley Health would send two Shepparton-based GPs to the clinic for three days a week in the interim.

She said the hospital had negotiated with Dr Berryman for six months and the two parties had been unable to reach an agreement.

‘‘We are speaking with Medicare Local to try and find a replacement and I’m pulling two senior medical staff to come here three days a week,’’ she said.

‘‘We are actively pursuing another doctor to come here.’’

During the meeting residents voiced their disdain at Goulburn Valley Health for not disclosing why the popular GP had resigned.

Mrs Sherringham said the details were confidential. Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Dale Fraser told The News yesterday that it was not practice for the hospital to disclose private contractual discussions in a public environment.

Rushworth and District Community Bank director Christine Borger said the bank was concerned by the change.

In 2009, the bank donated $40000 to the construction of the medical clinic, which then sat idle for almost two years after its first GP resigned after six weeks of practice.

‘‘The past 18 months have seen the clinic operate as it should have at the outset, delivering the key benefits to the community as the bank hoped it would.

‘‘We have a really skilled, professional GP that the whole community is really pleased with — why is he going?’’

Waranga Steering Committee member Cass Alexander said Rushworth residents must put every effort into finding a permanent replacement.

‘‘We need access to medical services on a predictable and repetitious basis,’’ Mr Alexander said.

Mr Fraser yesterday stressed services would not cease with Dr Berryman’s departure.

‘‘The medical staff from here are meeting with Gary this week to do handovers and current and prospective patients are encouraged to make contact through the medical clinic to make bookings.’’

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