The Karoonda East Murray community is working with SA Health to try to find a solution to an impending health service crisis in the region.
The Karoonda Medical Clinic is set to shut when GP Greg Crafter hangs up his stethoscope and retires at the end of September.
While the town still has access to Mannum’s tele-health services, residents will have to travel between 60 and 100 kilometres to other towns to see a GP in person, with the closest facilities in Murray Bridge, Mannum and areas in the Riverland.
Mayor Caroline Phillips has told ARN’s Adam Connelly and Jennie Lenman that she is working through potential solutions with a group of dedicated community volunteers, including SA Ambulance volunteers, residents, members of the local pharmacy and a local hairdresser who regularly communicates with older residents about their concerns.
“It’s a challenging situation but one that our community is rising to… we’ve got a really proactive group of community members to look at other options to maintain that level of service within our district,” Mayor Caroline Phillips said.
While she is advocating for a new doctor in her discussions with SA Health, Mayor Phillips said she understands there is a nation-wide doctor shortage.
“We really need to find a solution to this, we need to maintain these healthcare services in our town to ensure the sustainability of us into the future, so we’re working really hard to try to understand how else can we deliver these services for our residents.”
Residents are reaching out to other regional communities who have experienced doctor shortages, including Keith and Wudinna, to brainstorm on another solution.
A decade ago, a similar working group in the district helped Council to devise the Mannum Satellite model that is available today.
Hear Mayor Caroline Phillips speaking to ARN’s Jennie Lenman and Adam Connelly this week via the audio play window below: