06 March 2020
Shire of Irwin Council met at a special meeting last night to set the course of action to resolve the provision of medical services within the Shire. The outcomes from the meeting were:
- To initiate the statutory process to acquire the Dongara Medical Centre at 290 Point Leander Drive, Dongara from Quirko Investments Pty Ltd (Batavia Health) as a walk out walk in sale for $1,450,000. Under the Local Government Act 1995, the proposed acquisition is a major land transaction.
- Appoint a residential GP by a Medical Practice Agreement plus a Memorandum of Understanding with Batavia Health for the use of the Dongara Medical Centre until such time the proposed acquisition is finalised. The commencement date of the residential GP has been set for 16 March 2020.
The lead up to this decision involved one of the most comprehensive public consultation processes held in the Shire, which had a very high participation rate due to the importance of providing GP services in the community. There was a strong mandate from the community for the Shire to prioritise the acquisition of the Dongara Medical Centre and fund the associated medical services above projects such as the development of the foreshore. However, the contentious issue was the source of the funding, and in particular, if it were to potentially affect rates. The final rate impact, if any, will be decided at the April 2020 Ordinary Council Meeting.
With the exception of last week, the Shire together with Rural Health West have been able to maintain operation of the Dongara Medical Centre through the support of locum doctors, which will continue to the end of the financial year.
The Shire is pleased to announce that Dr Sasha Risinger has been contracted as the Principal GP for the Dongara Medical Centre for the next 5 years. Dr Sasha Risinger is an Australian-trained fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Sasha also has a diploma in children's health and is an internationally recognised EMST (severe trauma) and advanced life support provider. Over the past ten years, Sasha has worked in a variety of fields including rural and remote general practice and occupational medicine. She has a special interest in children & women's health, mental health & well-being, as well as all aspects of preventative medicine. Sasha grew up in regional WA and after following her interest in medicine she became the solo GP practitioner at the Carnamah Family Medical Practice and Three Springs Medical Centre. Sasha started the Carnamah practice from scratch and took over the Three Springs practice from a corporate group. She aspires to a holistic patient-centred approach and enjoys understanding her patients’ needs by getting to know them.