Maclean District Hospital’s new Rehabilitation Unit was officially opened on 2 June 2017 by the Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan.

The Unit has 10-new purpose-built beds and will provide coordinated care from a multidisciplinary team that includes medical, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and social work.

“Previously, the nearest rehabilitation facilities were located in Coffs Harbour and Ballina, so this is a fantastic investment in the health of our growing population in the Clarence community,” Mr Hogan said.

“Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends,
Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
One man likes to push a plough,
The other likes to chase a cow,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.”

Rogers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma (2009 London Cast)

Wikipedia states that “friendship has elements of affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding, compassion and trust. There is also the ability to express oneself and one’s feelings without fear of judgement from the friend. As a result friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations and interests.”

Medicine is a stressful occupation. The suicide risk amongst doctors is higher than the general population, particularly for female doctors, and has been the subject of recent reports In the newspapers and on radio. The pressures on young doctors can be overwhelming at times, resulting in these tragic events.

Map Northern Rivers

A detailed study of the availability of GP care in northern NSW* has found that while the area has high rates of chronic illness and an ageing population, there is limited access to an affordable, same-day GP appointment.

The study found that less than half of potential new patients would be able to see a doctor on the same day if they rang the practice that morning. There would be even less chance if their requirement was to access a female GP, according to the study ‘Actual availability of appointments at general practices in regional New South Wales, Australia’, published in the latest issue of the journal Australian Family Physician.

Improving the availability of primary healthcare services would benefit both patients and the public health budget by reducing the “non-urgent use of emergency department services”.

Working from a list provided by the North Coast Primary Health Network the researchers engaged a professional interviewer to contact all 184 medical practices in 12 local government areas ranging from Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour, including inland locations such as Kyogle, Tenterfield and Bellingen.

Dr Jane Barker

Dr Jane Barker looks at rising suicide rates among the young doctor population and urges the medical profession to be more active in addressing this mounting crisis.

The death of a young person through suicide is a tragedy leaving family and friends devastated, and the medical fraternity is again reeling from more reports of the suicides of young trainees. In 2015, we have learned, three trainee psychiatrists took their own lives in Victoria. While investigations were announced, any changes that have been made did not prevent the deaths of a further three trainees this year, this time in NSW, Sadly, these are only the ones we are hearing about.

Dr Nigel Chamberlain

On Anzac Day 2017 Dr Nigel Chamberlain, a General Practitioner in Alstonville for over 30 years, died as a result of complications from a devastating cycling accident in September 2014.

Nigel, aged 62, was well known and highly regarded by his patients, community and colleagues in the Northern Rivers.