Regional doctor shortage puts practice out of business

Jacaranda Health has closed its doors.
Jacaranda Health has closed its doors. Caitlan Charles

GRAFTON'S Jacaranda Health has closed its doors for the last time after suffering financially for most of the year.

Trish Tracey, the manager of the practice, said in today's economic climate they could not run the practice.

"Bottom line is it's financially unviable in today's economic climate with just one GP we've been operating with one GP," she said.

"Were in a district of workforce shortage it does make it hard to recruit in this area.

"We were going to try and stay open to the end of the month, but you can't pay wages when you don't have any money in the bank."

Ms Tracey said Jacaranda Health has a long history within the Clarence Valley, being open for more than 25 years.

"Dr Ray Jones originally owned this practice, he was the first responder at the Cowper bus crash." she said.

The practice has been trying to contact all of their patients to ensure they get their records because they can't be stored.

"Anyone with outstanding results from Laverty Pathogy, Sullivan and Nicolaides Pathology, Clarence Valley Imaging, and the hospital, they are all able to contact the doctor for any urgent matter," Ms Tracey said.

"We're trying to contact as many people as possible ... we're tyring to give people as much access as possible that's going to be difficult," she said.

The clinic had a small number of employees of which four have already obtained employment elsewhere.

"Two of our staff have gained full time employment, another staff member had gained part time, our registered nurse is a teacher at TAFE," Ms Tracey said.

The clinic manager described the closing of the practice as the end of an era.

"We're all trying to stay very positive," she said. "It's hard."

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