IT'S AS crazy as a pub with no beer – but the $500,000 Nebo Medical Centre, which was officially opened a month ago, has no doctor.
The centre, which was funded by the Federal Government, is unlikely to be used during the next few months, with Isaac Regional Council yet to advertise a tender for a general practitioner.
While it's proving to be one of the biggest jokes in the community, it's not amusing for people with health problems, including Christeen Woolnough, who is forced to drive an hour to see a doctor.
“It's a big concern for us,” Ms Woolnough said.
“We've got a big camp out here with 800 to 1000 men and women and no medical services – it's terrible.
“We had to wait seven years for the medical centre and we'll probably have to wait for seven years for a doctor.
“It's just one big balls up after another. Everyone is just so disheartened.
“We've still got to go down to the ambulance if we need treatment... the ambulance can only do so much.”
Isaac mayor Cedric Marshall, who officially opened the Nebo Medical Centre on June 8, said the council wanted the centre operational as soon as possible, however, was unable to advertise the tender before the building was completed.
“You can't put the cart before the horse,” he said.
A Department of Health and Ageing spokeswoman said the council made a conscious decision to finish building the centre, which had “only just opened”, before staffing it so “perspective doctors could see where they'd be working and make a more informed decision about their potential move to Nebo”.
Cr Marshall said the centre was unlikely to open within the next couple of months.
“We're waiting on some information from the Mackay Division of General Practice (which was taken over by the General Practice of Queensland in May) to put into the tender, which we require for (the) lease (of) the medical centre.
"Once we get that information we'll be... calling for tenders.”
In the meantime, the centre's two consultation rooms, treatment room, ambulance entry, waiting room and reception area remain useless to the Nebo community.
Cr Marshall said the new facility would make a huge difference to Nebo residents, who had to travel 75km to Mackay to see a doctor, once operational.
That day can't come soon enough for Ms Woolnough, who believed a medical centre was just about to open when she moved to Nebo in 2004.
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