Doctors rebuild as flood crisis swells
AS Queenslanders brace for further flooding across the state, doctors in the state's north have begun to rebuild what is left of their practices and homes.
Former ACRRM president and Theodore GP Dr Bruce Chater, whose surgery was destroyed in the floods, has begun operating a GP service from inside the local hospital grounds while a demountable clinic is constructed on hospital grounds.
"We live in extraordinary times - Queensland Health are taking extraordinary measures to get the demountable up and running as quickly as possible," Dr Chater said.
"We are bulk-billing all our patients at the moment because we do recognise the significant burden everyone is facing, and we are happy to share that burden."
The town was evacuated on 28 December 2010, after most of the town went underwater.
During the floods, Dr Chater's surgery was inundated with water, and despite losing the majority of his hard-copy medical records and clinical equipment, most patient files were backed up electronically.
"Theodore is a wonderful community, and we are all in this together, Dr Chater said.
"We expect to see... injuries - we haven't seen many but there will be. Then there will be vaccinations, and people running out of medications."
Unfortunately, Dr Chater holds no hope for his former surgery - which he has occupied for the past 25 years - being covered by his insurance policy.
"We had a sneaking suspicion that [our insurer] would say no to flood damage," he said.
As a result, Dr Chater is now considering a co-located surgery in the hospital grounds.
"There is a fair bit of interest in that going ahead, but obviously we need to discuss all the options first," he said.