The National Health Co-op (NHC) has announced it will close its Charnwood medical clinic at the end of July as part of measures to strengthen its financial health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NHC is a not for profit, registered charity, member owned co-operative that provides bulk billing for a GP or allied health professional of choice to its members. The NHC currently employs 100 medical and administrative staff across ten clinics in Canberra and Yass, with around 32,000 active members. There is no other cooperative model in primary healthcare at this scale anywhere else in Australia.
“COVID-19 has placed the NHC under considerable strain and we have made the difficult decision to close our Charnwood clinic at the end of this month as part of strategic financial health measures so we can sustain these uncertain times,” said Alison Wright, CEO National Health Co-op.
Clinicians from Charnwood will be relocated to the NHC clinics in Macquarie and Higgins.
“Job Keeper has been a critical component in maintaining services however immediate expenses in PPE orders, costs to improve ICT, very little rent relief and intermittent variations in patient attendances have proved a perfect storm for the organisation,” Ms Wright added.
The NHC makes a major contribution to bulk billing in the ACT and Yass. It delivers approximately 186,000 bulk billed appointments to its Canberra patients annually which equates to an estimated 14 percent of all bulk billed appointments in the ACT.
“We have proactively informed the Federal and ACT Government in the hope they will support our efforts to maintain such a critically important primary health care service in these challenging times,” said Ms Wright.
As part of strengthening the organisation and growing its member base, new membership pricing will be introduced from September with family, group and individual memberships.