SIGNIFICANT job losses are likely after the axing of Moruya’s Southern NSW Medicare Local.
The service has failed in its bid to become a national Primary Health Network in a federal shake-up of the sector.
The Government announced last year it would replace Medicare Locals with the networks, forcing services to compete in a tender process.
Staff at the Moruya-based service learned this week their bid had failed, with the contract going to an Illawarra-Shoalhaven consortium.
From June 30, Medicare Locals will no longer exist.
On Monday, a Southern NSW Medicare Local spokeswoman feared significant job losses.
“We have 91 staff, so there are likely to be significant job losses,” the spokeswoman said.
The news distressed service chairman and Moruya GP Dr Martin Carlson.
“I am distraught because of the 20 years of dedicated service from local GPs and staff,” he said.
“They are an amazing group of people.”
He said there would be job losses, but hoped many staff would remain in the sector.
“We are meant to be providing clinical services for the next 10 weeks, but that is not practical when you are winding down,” he said.
“We cannot guarantee services on a long-term basis, but we will do our best.”
The new network will cover a larger area than Southern NSW Medicare Local did, taking in Cooma, Eden, Goulburn, Nowra, Ulladulla and Wollongong.
Dr Carlson fears services will suffer.
“Going from covering a large area to a very large area doesn’t help with services,” he said.
“Local knowledge is vital to know what the needs are and to source skills.”
He said the service’s success in securing a Parkinson’s Disease specialist nurse, after a long wait, was one example.
“Primary Health Networks are not expected to provide services, but to commission them,” he said.
“If you are asking ‘is that bureaucracy?’ then the answer is ‘yes’. The services will suffer.”
Southern NSW Medicare Local CEO Kathryn Stonestreet feared a significant economic impact on Moruya.
“Of the 91 staff in the region, about 50 are from the Eurobodalla,” she said.
“It is pretty wild, but we will soldier on.
“I deeply admire our staff and we hope to be able to find work opportunities for them.”