About

Health care, but not as you know it

The National Health Co-op (NHC) is a not-for-profit, member owned co-operative that provides affordable medical and healthcare services to the communities where it operates. Our overarching goal is to provide access to affordable healthcare to Australians and through which significantly reduce instances of preventable diseases and lessen the personal and societal impact of chronic conditions.

Consistent with Medicare eligibility requirements, members enjoy unlimited access to bulk billed doctors of their choice at any NHC practice in Australia. The NHC also provides a wide range of other primary healthcare services at no or low cost to members including: psychology, diabetes education, physiotherapy, child, adolescent and aged health, and dietetics.

Membership

Annual membership of the NHC is available for individuals at $10 per month or annually at a discounted rate. Commonwealth concession card holders receive a 50 per cent discount and children under 18 years of age receive FREE cover under their parent or guardian’s membership. Free membership is available to community members in need and is assessed on a case-by-case basis in partnership with local community service agencies.

More information on membership is available here.

Governance

The NHC is overseen by a Board of between seven and nine Directors elected by the members of the NHC at its Annual General Meeting. The current Board comprises individuals with professional experience and academic qualifications including in accounting, business administration, law and pharmacy.

The Board is responsible for setting the strategic direction, establishing effective governance, evaluating performance and assuring financial sustainability for the business.

Directors govern the NHC on behalf of the Members. All Directors must comply with basic legal requirements under the Co-operatives National Law (ACT) Act 2017 which specifies four main duties for Directors with a number of other areas of key responsibility that include a duty to act in good faith and honesty, act with care and diligence, avoid a conflict of interest, not to abuse a corporate opportunity or misuse information, and not to trade while insolvent.

Information on the election of directors and the nominations process is available here

The 2015-16 annual report is available here.

Management

Day-to-day management of the NHC is undertaken by the CEO with support from the General Manager and the Medical Director. The General Manager provides overarching support to the CEO relating to the NHC’s business operations, future development and organisational communications. The Medical Director provides advice to the CEO on all clinical matters and oversees the delivery of clinical services. More information is available on our Management page.

Our history and future

The National Health Co-op was formed in response to a lack of General Practitioners in the northwest region of Canberra, West Belconnen, a suburban area of 20,000 people. This issue came about due to medical practices progressively closing in the area over the preceding years and an increasing shortage of General Practitioners in the city.

In the hope of addressing this issue, in September 2004 a number of community organisations and local residents convened a public meeting. Out of this meeting, a community representative committee was formed, which included a small executive committee. The executive committee was tasked with trying to find solutions to the situation.

In December 2006, the committee re-formed as a registered co-operative, the ‘West Belconnen Health Co-operative Ltd’. Eventually capital funding was found to enable the opening of the first GP clinic in the suburb of Charnwood in January 2010. 

In September 2014, the name was changed to the ‘National Health Co-operative Ltd’ (NHC) in recognition that the Co-op had opened several clinics in the north and south of Canberra and was planning to further expand geographically in Canberra and beyond.

The NHC currently employs over 90 medical and administrative staff across eight Canberra based clinics and services approximately 10 per cent of the ACT’s population, as well as a significant number of residents in the broader Canberra region.

The NHC is currently in the early stages of a national expansion which will see the establishment of clinics throughout Australia with a priority on areas that are under serviced, particularly in regional locations. The NHC expects that this will require in excess of 200 sites nationally. Information on our upcoming developments and plans are available here

Application to display material in clinics

If you are interested in displaying promotional material in NHC clinics, please complete the application form.