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Thomas George MP (4th from left) with Bonalbo community members, NNSW LHD staff and Board Chair Dr Brian Pezzutti (3rd from right) at the announcement of funding to build a Multi Purpose Service in the upper Clarence town.

Construction work on the new Bonalbo Multi Purpose Service (MPS) is set to begin in mid-2015, the state Member for Lismore Thomas George announced on 24 September 2014.

Estimated at more than $15 million, the project is funded out of the NSW Government’s Multi Purpose Service stage five program and will fill service gaps that have existed in the inland town for some years.

The announcement follows the recent commencement of GP Dr Sunil Sunil, hailing from India via NZ and Coonamble, NSW who has taken took up residence, and practice, in the town.

Dr Sunil fills the large – and long-lasting – shoes of Dr Trevor Tierney who served the community for some 30 years until retirement in 2011. Locums filled the gap after he left, with Dr Kate Ealing in residence for the past year.

“Multi Purpose Services [which operate in Kyogle and Nimbin] are much-loved by communities because of its approach to delivering the specific care local residents need,” Mr George said.

“It can provide emergency care, inpatient beds, palliative care, respite care, residential aged care for those with low level dementia, provision for visiting specialists and a range of primary, community and ambulatory care services appropriate for our community.

“The new MPS facilities will provide flexible services to better respond to the health needs of our community and enable a more efficient delivery of those services through improved coordination of care.”

A lead design team has been appointed by Health Infrastructure to begin the process of planning and building this new facility. It comprises Mace Australia Pty Ltd (project manager) and Thomson Adsett (architect) and Altus Group Cost Management Pty Ltd (cost manager).

Health Minister Jillian Skinner praised Thomas George for his advocacy for better health services in Bonalbo.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to providing enhanced health care for rural and regional communities and the MPS stage five program is a fantastic example of this commitment in action,” Mrs Skinner said.