Leigh Creek doctor service's last-gasp rescue
Despite many changes and struggles Leigh Creek faces, there has almost always been a constant the community can rely on.
Doctor Clive Hume is a staple in Leigh Creek and the surrounding region, visiting the town once a week for over 30 years, opening the local clinic and pharmacy for appointments and check-ups.
The far-northern community of South Australia have known Dr Hume all their lives and enjoy having their kids see the same family general practitioner they grew up with.
However, there is a significant threat of the town and region losing access to its only doctor during 2019 without financial support beyond Dr Hume’s mid-year contract deadline.
To ease the pain, doctor visits and a pharmacy service remain operating thanks to burgeoning gas and fertiliser producer Leigh Creek Energy rescuing the service from closure at the end of 2018.
The company has so far extended the service into 2019 with a $60k commitment ensuring local access until at least June 30, 2019.
Dr Hume said he’s thankful he can continue returning to Leigh Creek, but remains wary of the community’s service going forward.
“There was real risk of this service to these far north communities ceasing until Leigh Creek Energy approached me …” Dr Hume said.
“While I remain worried about the service’s future beyond the end of the 2018/19 financial year … I would sincerely like to acknowledge Leigh Creek Energy, which have shown their willingness and capacity to get behind the local community.
“The service is costly to run, but without this assistance the impact to the region would be devastating to many who rely on it.”
Leigh Creek Community Progress Association chair Darryl Bowshire said locals are thankful the service will continue, and hopeful the region won’t lose the all-important service.
“Dr Hume is an important part of our community, providing a service for Leigh Creek and the surrounding areas for over 30 years,” Mr Bowshire said.
“The Progress Association is very pleased Leigh Creek Energy could make it possible for this service to continue and hopes Dr Hume can keep visiting the region well into the future.”
Leigh Creek Energy Managing Director Phil Staveley said the company has a commitment to supporting Leigh Creek and the surrounding region.
“We’ve had a presence in the region for some time now and fully understand how important this service is to the local community,” Mr Staveley said.
“And since we are committed to being part of the community, and accept the responsibility of contributing to its future, we’re pleased to be able to make it possible for Dr Hume to continue doing this vital work in Leigh Creek.”
PHOTO: Leigh Creek Energy’s Stephen Batten, Dr Clive Hume and Leigh Creek Community Progress Association chair Darryl Bowshire.