Dedication of doctors gets centre back up and running
WHEN fetid floodwaters raced down the Nogoa River and inevitably engulfed the Centro Village shopping centre, each and every business owner awaited the day they could re-enter the centre.
It was an emotionally and economically painful time for them, but perhaps more so for Emerald Health Care Centre owners Dr Imran Hussain and Dr Awal.
Post-2008 floods, the medical pair purchased the doctor's surgery and operated the clinic under the belief the centre wouldn't flood again.
"Everybody told us that (2008) flood was a one in a hundred year event that wouldn't happen again," Dr Hussain said at the medical centre's re-opening on Thursday night.
"We lost everything, except for our patient records which we had on our computers that we took with us."
From December, the doctor duo set up practice in other Emerald-based surgeries in order to keep treating their patients.
Dr Hussain said it was a regrettable fact the practice had to introduce mixed billing, but the personal outlayed costs of rebuilding the centre must be covered because it wasn't insured.
Bulk billing will remain available for pensioners and other concession holders.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd welcomed the centre's re-opening, and praised the doctors and staff for their dedication to rural medicine.
"Doctors in general slip under the radar, especially in country towns such as Emerald," Mr O'Dowd said.
"But until you are actually in Emerald, you don't realise the role doctors play.
"Surely it must be the goal of the public health... to have permanent doctors living in rural towns."