Dr Hannon set to leave hospital and Warwick community
LONG-time patients of Dr Chris Hannon are said to be devastated at a request by Queensland Health that he vacate a consulting space he uses at Warwick Hospital.
Dr Hannon expects to leave the hospital - and Warwick - for good by Anzac Day, ending a health care relationship with our region spanning nearly three decades.
The much-loved medico had been visiting the hospital five days a fortnight since late last year, after his work at Peppertree Medical Centre on Guy St, which he formerly co-owned as the Warwick Medical Centre, was terminated.
Dr Hannon had been using rooms next to the Warwick Hospital emergency department, spending half of his visits tending to emergency admissions and the other half seeing private patients, whom he bulk-billed.
He was not paid any retainer by Queensland Health for treating emergency presentations.
Dr Hannon told the Daily News yesterday he had been given verbal advice by Queensland Health last week that his clinic would have to close.
An offer of space in the former Oaks nursing home - now converted into a multi-purpose medial facility - was not an option, as Dr Hannon said it would be in breach of a contractual agreement with Peppertree.
A philosophical Dr Hannon yesterday said it was "a shame" he would see the end of his 27 years of providing GP services in Warwick and the wider region.
He had been driving from his new home base of Brisbane each week to perform his Warwick emergency room and clinic services.
"It's something I will have to live with, but I'm pretty sad about it," he said.
"The medical and nursing staff of the hospital had been tremendous, really supportive and I can't praise them highly enough.
"Unfortunately I was not officially part of the emergency department and for that reason I've been asked to cease my clinic.
"I am concerned for patients, in particular those with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
"Those patients need ongoing clinical support, rather than emergency treatment."
Dr Hannon said one patient he had been seeing since 1992 had "burst into tears" when he broke the news to her he would be leaving town.
"The hospital did offer me use of the private rooms in the old Oaks building," Dr Hannon said.
"They are well fitted out and used by all but one of the visiting specialists and quite suitable for use by me.
"But I risk breaking an undertaking I gave when I sold Warwick Medical Centre not to work in a general practice for three years in the Southern Downs area.
"Whilst the emergency department could not be considered a general practice, that area could be, hence I have had to turn that offer down."
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service chief executive Dr Peter Bristow said the service had been "negotiating with Dr Hannon regarding the lease of some space within the Warwick Hospital to see patients in a private capacity".
"Dr Hannon has chosen not to continue these negotiations," Dr Bristow said.
"Dr Hannon is not and has not been an employee of the Health Service."