Community Health Centre
New Tennant Creek Community Health Centre Opens
About forty people witnessed the official opening of the Tennant Creek Health Centre on Sunday 10th August 1975, by Dr Doug Everingham, Minister of Health.
The Chairman for the opening ceremony, Dr White from Alice Springs (Assistant Director of Health, Rural and Community Health Centre) welcomed the official party and then introduced Mr Tuxworth M.L.A. who spoke about the benefits that the new Health Centre would give to the town and the surrounding area, Mr Tuxworth pointed out that although the Health Centre had been started under one government it had been completed to satisfaction by the present government. The new centre would be an outstanding asset to Tennant Creek.
Dr White then introduced the Federal Minister of Health, Dr Everingham. The Minister pointed out that Tennant’s Community Health Centre was part of the government’s programme on which $60 million has been spent over the last two years. It was noted that in the past there had been a confusing and inefficient fragmentation in the provision of community services. There was little coordination or referral between one service like the maternal and child welfare and another service like the child guidance or industrial health service. There had been poor team-work involved.
Community Health Services were proposed so that people could have their health and welfare needs met locally and promptly, or even anticipated ·and prevented and then return home. Each Community Health Centre would have a team of skilled workers – Social Workers, Speech Therapists, Psychologists, Community Nurses, Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists, and of course Doctors either delivering primary care or acting as medical directors. The importance of this team approach to providing health and welfare services may be understood better if we realise that 2% of the population has some serious mental illness or handicap and another 6% suffers from significant psychological disorder.
Dr Everingham pointed out that teams of health and welfare professionals are required to deal with the social problems that are the basis of the symptoms. Deserted spouses, one parent homes, truancy, criminality, drug taking, alcoholism etc. are typical of these problems.
The Tennant Creek Community Health centre has cost $343,000 and combines many services for the community. These include Infant and Child Care Clinics, a Home Nursing Service available seven days a week, screening examinations for diabetes, Family Planning and Contraceptive Advice, Immunisations, Dental Services, Nursing Sisters available for personal discussions on medical or social problems, In addition, while the local hospital is being redeveloped the Health Centre will provide the services of an outpatients department, Specialist Clinics, Routine Clinics such as Ante-Natal, and Australian Government Medical Officer Examinations. .
Finally, Dr Everingham apologised for the delay in finishing the Health Centre but shortages of supplies and the long ‘Wet’ last year contributed to delays, The Minister then performed the opening ceremony.
Following the opening of the Health Centre the official party and guests retired to the Swan Hotel for lunch. A very fine meal was provided and guests and officials mixed freely. Dr Everingham left Tennant at 2.30pm bound for Alice Springs where he is to carry out more official duties. His official party included Dr Gurd, Director of Health, Dr Sax, Chairman of the Hospitals and Health Services Commission and Dr Evans, a Deputy Director of Health.
Tennant Times 15 August 1975