The Central West Hospital and Health Service formally will begin delivering female GP medical
clinic services across the region from 1 July.

Chief Executive Jane Hancock said Central West Health recognised the historical importance of
the clinics and was committed to continuing the service previously delivered by doctors Louise
Russell and Simone Peacock over the past 15 years.

“From 1 July, we will be delivering the service across the region with female Central West
Health GPs from Longreach, ensuring long term continuity and sustainability,’’ she said.

The female GP clinic services previously were funded by the Commonwealth Government and
delivered initially through the Royal Flying Doctor Service and then CheckUP.

“We have been aware for some time that this service was going to be discontinued by CheckUP
in its existing form, or offered in a more restricted form, due to the unsustainably high charter
aircraft transport costs involved in delivering the service,’’ Ms Hancock said.

“But Central West Health sees providing continued access to female GPs as our responsibility
to the community going forward.

“The only way we can ensure this happens is by delivering the service ourselves, utilising our
own local female doctors, thereby allowing us to save significantly on overall transport costs.

“To this end, we have been working with doctors Russell and Peacock for some time to ensure
a smooth transition and continued access for the people of Central West to this important
service.

“As part of this process, we have already incorporated Dr Russell’s clinic service for Blackall
and Tambo into the Central West Health-operated Black Stump Medical Centre.

“At Isisford, the transfer of Dr Russell’s clinics to a Longreach female GP took place last year
and the community is now receiving female GP services every second week.

“And since April this year, Longreach-based female GPs have been accompanying Dr Russell
and Dr Peacock – who delivers the service to Winton and the Western Corridor – and are now
in a position to run the service from 1 July.

“Both Dr Russell and Dr Peacock have strongly supported Central West Health in incorporating
their service into our regular GP practices using our own female GPs.

“I acknowledge this change will mark the end of an era, as Dr Russell’s and Dr Peacock’s clinics
have been strongly supported by our communities for many years.

“I would like to thank them both for working with us to ensure a smooth transition of service.

“I would also like to pay tribute to them for the dedicated and committed service they have
provided to Central West communities for the past 15 years.

“They have done an outstanding job and deserve the thanks of everyone in the Central West.

“I wish them all the very best for the next chapters in their careers of service to the community.

“Central West Health will build upon the strong foundations they have laid as we continue to
deliver this important and long-established service to our communities.’’

ENDS