Forbes Medical Precinct and Jemalong Regional Education Centre
In 2007, Forbes Council identified the need for a “walk in walk out” medical facility as critical to the long term sustainability of medical services in Forbes. Significantly, Forbes Council recognised the link between essential medical services and economic prosperity within a town.
The “walk-in walk out” concept provided doctors with the opportunity to come to Forbes and practise medicine without start-up costs or having to buy into a practice.
The objective was to develop a relevant medical practice model that;
- Provided ongoing sustainability of quality health services within Forbes;
- Attracted and retained general practitioners and allied health professionals.
The facility would co-locate two local medical practices and be built on a greenfield site in Elgin St adjacent to the Forbes Hospital – thus the beginning of the Forbes Medical Precinct.
$2.2 million budget
- $1.7 million Forbes Shire Council commitment
- $500,000 Federal Grant
The Forbes Medical Centre opened in 2009. The design was agreed upon by all stakeholders after a period of extensive planning and consultation. The Working Group included the Division of General Practice, local doctors, architects and Council.
The completed Medical Centre includes;
- 18 large fully fitted out consultation rooms
- Two treatment rooms
- Utilities, storage and cleaners rooms
- Children’s play area
- Large staff/conference room
- Spacious reception and waiting areas
- Pathology incorporating reception/waiting area, 2 x collection rooms, utilities and staff rooms
Council contribution included;
- significant road works
- new kerb and guttering on both sides of the street
- new footpaths
- new parking layout
- a permanent helipad with night landing capabilities.
The complete Forbes Medical Precinct includes:
- Forbes Medical Centre
- Forbes District Hospital
- 24 hr Helipad
- Forbes Ambulance Station
- Jemalong Regional Education Centre
The Jemalong Regional Education Centre is a short term accommodation facility owned and run by Forbes Shire Council for education and health purposes. Forbes Council purchased the top portion of the former Jemalong Retirement Village in 2010 and the renovation was completed in 2011, including offices, training and video conference facilities and two accommodation wings consisting of 5 units, 10 superior rooms, and 15 student rooms.
Since 2011, the Jemalong Regional Education Centre has provided accommodation for students, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals as well as education professionals studying and/or working in the Forbes area.
In June 2009, Forbes had 6 GPs and 2 Registrars. By December 2014, that number had increased to 10 GPs and 3 Registrars.
Had Forbes Council not intervened with infrastructure, there is little chance the town could have increased its GP numbers above 8.
The Forbes Council and community’s pro-active approach to improving health infrastructure and attracting health workforce played a crucial role in its successful advocacy for State funding to redevelop the district hospital.