The Mirboo North & District Community Foundation is proud to announce that it will invest some of its capital to build a modern and spacious medical clinic and allied health facility to ensure that the residents of Mirboo North and surrounds can have continued access to GP bulk billing and health services for decades to come.
“On behalf of the Community Foundation, I am tremendously excited to announce that we have purchased land and are working on preliminary designs for a new health services facility to be built right in the heart of Mirboo North, on Ridgway,” said Paul Pratt, Chairperson of the Community Foundation, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
“We are delighted that we have been able to collaborate with the Mirboo North Medical Centre team, who have shared their valuable insights with us to develop this joint vision so we can strengthen the health of our community together.”
Paul said that the new facility, which will be built at 59-67 Ridgway, would be custom designed and built by Gippsland contractors in an effort to keep jobs local. It will result in a modern and sustainable building that will reside in the middle of the already attractive township of Mirboo North. Encouraging increased foot traffic through the town centre, the building design will be considerate of Mirboo North’s unique main street character. It is also situated much closer to Mirboo North’s large local pharmacy for ease of picking up prescriptions and other health related items.
The spacious building will enable extra doctors to take up residence in Mirboo North, with room for 4 full-time GP’s and access for various allied health professionals to rent rooms so that people from all age groups that reside in the community do not have to travel as far to receive expert healthcare.
Doctors and health professionals will not be paying rents to landlords; instead the rent will be paid back into to the Community Foundation, benefiting the community in the long run.
Paul says that the Community Foundation has grown in value over its 10 years from $5 million to almost $8 million, whilst also providing $1.4 million in grants to the community. However, this is the Community Foundation’s first “Impact Investment”, meaning that the building project is not a grant, but an investment with both a financial and a social return. In this case there will be a smaller financial return for the rent paid for the facility and a large social return in the improvement to the health and wellbeing of the community.
“We believe that the long term wellbeing of the community is enhanced by having access to highly trained doctors, who can then continue to offer bulk billing services, and affordable allied health services to people of all ages in our area,” Paul added.
Mirboo North’s passionate local Doctor, Sonya Moncrieff, has always had a vision for increasing health services in the township.
“I’m very excited to see this in the pipeline for the very deserving residents of Mirboo North. I believe every person in the area deserves access to a comprehensive health service and that this building will allow us to offer even more to our community,” said Dr. Moncrieff.
“I am passionate about continuing to offer a bulk billing service, which means that no one person in our care is financially discriminated against when it comes to accessing healthcare. Right now, curtailed space means we have had to turn away extra doctors who want to work in the area and at the moment we attract a limited amount of allied health services.”
“I can see local residents being able to access a diabetic educator more frequently, and have access to the likes of a general surgeon, general physician, dieticians, mental health services and of course, more GP’s,” continues Dr. Moncrieff, who also said a new building may encourage increased government catchment area health services to operate out of the facility.
The facility will provide the opportunity for medical service provision over the next 30 years or more and will provide a platform for the attraction of high quality medical practitioners on an ongoing basis, making the service sustainable for the senior citizens who wish to continue to live independently in the rural area.
“We know from the Mirboo North & District’s Vital Signs Report that there is also a high percentage of families living locally who are health care card holders, and this facility will ensure their continued access to health services,” continued Paul.
“Considering the history of the Community Foundation, where the funds to set it up originated from the sale of Mirboo North Community Care (now Japara), and before that the Mirboo North Bush Nursing Hospital, it seems fitting as well as socially and ethically responsible that this impact investment is helping to secure the on-going provision of bulk billing primary healthcare for our community,” finished Paul.
While the building project is in the early stages of design and implementation, the Community Foundation is already working cooperatively with the South Gippsland Shire Council in the planning phase of the project. They anticipate that the total cost of the purpose-built facility will be between $1.5 million and $1.9 million. The new building is due to open September 2021.