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Thirty-year GP drought ends; Pilot program brings Doctor to Spring Ridge.

After more than three decades without a local General Practitioner, the community of Spring Ridge is celebrating the arrival of Dr Owen Boyd, a GP who will service the community with two face-to-face consultation days on a regular schedule, while providing telehealth for the remainder.

Under the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network’s (HNECC PHN) Better Health for the Bush, Small Town Engagement Model (BHFTB - STEM) the PHN has provided funding to deliver a 12-month pilot for the hybrid General Practice telehealth service. The programs future direction is to continue to source new co located sites throughout the New England North West and build a networked model of care.

Dr Owen Boyd, the GP Principal of Boyd Health will operate the GP service alongside Ms Chloe Kay, owner and operator of Spring Ridge Pharmacy, where the businesses will be co-located.

HNECC PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis said the hybrid pilot will provide improved access to primary care for the residents of Spring Ridge and is surrounds. “With financial investment from the PHN, an opportunity has been created for two privately owned businesses to partner and pilot an innovative telehealth hybrid program. The digitally enabled model allows for continued service outside of the face-to-face appointments, which will provide continuity of care for Dr Boyd’s patients.”

Spring Ridge, situated in the Liverpool Plains Shire local Government area has a population of 400 in the immediate township and over 10 000 in the surrounding towns. There have been no General Practitioners in Spring Ridge for over 30 years, with the closest medical services in Quirindi and Gunnedah, between 40 minutes and an hour from each town, where there are ongoing GP shortages and limited access. The General Practices in these towns have closed books for new patients which leads to increased pressure on the hospital system and emergency services.

Dr Boyd said he is eager to work rurally to assist with access and equity by delivering the quality GP care in a hybrid pilot service model. “I have been servicing the broader region via telehealth for the last six months and actively looking for opportunities to provide complementary local care on the ground. Locating within Spring Ridge will allow Boyd Health to provide traditional general practice care when needed, while continuing the model of easy access and timely medical care via telehealth.”

Boyd Health will be open for business on Thursday 20th July and seeing patients face to face this Thursday 20th July and Friday 21st July 2023 and is located within the Spring Ridge Pharmacy. Bookings can be made via Boyd Health.

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