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NEW NAME: Under new ownership of Errol and Barbara Austin, the Warwick Medical Centre is now the Peppertree Medical Centre.
NEW NAME: Under new ownership of Errol and Barbara Austin, the Warwick Medical Centre is now the Peppertree Medical Centre. Georja Ryan

ROSE City patients have breathed a sigh of relief at the news that new owners have taken over the Warwick Medical Centre, helping to relieve the town's GP crisis.

Farmers Barbara and Errol Austin from Swan Creek were handed the keys to the practice yesterday, much to the delight of patients who feared they would not be able to seek medical attention if the centre closed later this month, as had been feared.

Proud new owner Mrs Austin, who has a book-keeping business, said she was excited to jump into her new role.

"It's really exciting, but it is a personal challenge for us," Mrs Austin said.

"At this stage, our philosophy is to continue business as usual and bring some stability to the centre."

Mrs Austin said upon learning the medical centre was going to close, the couple became concerned and thought they needed to do what they could to help.

"Both of our mothers go here, so we were concerned for them and for a lot of the Warwick community," she said.

"We thought 'well if we're not going to do it, who will?'."

With a leap of faith and an optimistic attitude, the Austins said they would strive to recruit more general practitioners to the area.

Mr Austin said they would continue to operate their property and Mrs Austin's book-keeping business alongside their new project.

Receptionist Margot Bradfield was thrilled the Austins had bought the practice and said the patients were too.

"They (patients) are all very relieved," Mrs Bradfield said.

"When there was nowhere else taking patients, it was a big stress for everyone."

One patient said she was happy to hear the good news she did not have to flee town just to visit a doctor.

"I'm very pleased," she said.

"It was extremely worrying for me personally, because my husband has quite a unique illness and so it would be difficult for another doctor to come up to speed with his problems."

The practice will now operate under a new name, Peppertree Medical Centre, after the Austins' property and signs will be up within the next couple of weeks.

Mrs Austin said she was relieved to see the practice already had a staffing team much like a well-oiled machine.

"The staff are just fantastic, they all work together well and know what they're doing," Mrs Austin said.

Dr Bronwen Howson will continue to practise and Dr Chris Hannon will work two days a week, Monday and Tuesday.

Dr Nedzara Delic has moved to the southern region of Banora Point to practise there, while Dr Lorna Reid will continue to work at Peppertree Medical Centre part-time.

A full-time locum GP, Dr Brian Hall, has also begun work at the centre and will stay on until another permanent GP is sourced.

The practice will no longer open on Saturday mornings, but still Monday to Friday.

Topics:  crisis, medical centre, warwick medical centre




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