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Australia Anonymous donation leads to medical clinic for Innamincka, population 13

03:01  26 november  2020
03:01  26 november  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a large building: Innamincka's new RFDS clinic has nurses permanently based there and specialists visiting regularly. (Supplied: Ali Matthews) © Provided by ABC Health Innamincka's new RFDS clinic has nurses permanently based there and specialists visiting regularly. (Supplied: Ali Matthews)

One of Australia's smallest and most remote towns is now home to a state-of-the-art medical clinic, thanks in part to an anonymous donor.

Innamincka, which has a population of just 13, is more than 1,000 kilometres north-east of Adelaide.

It sits on the banks of Cooper Creek, famous for being the place where Burke and Wills died in their attempt to cross the country from south to north.

The town has been serviced by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but the new clinic makes the services available even better.

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RFDS health service development manager Jenny Beach said the new clinic gave residents access to a range of health services, including dental and mental health services.

Weekly RFDS planes arrive at Innamincka and bring with them health professionals who provide care from the clinic.

"On that plane will be a general practitioner who will do all the normal things for caring for people," Ms Beach said.

"We also bring in mental health workers, and that's become really important in this current time.

"The dentist is also coming in on a regular basis — they've got a room there set up for the dental team."

Permanent on-the-ground nurses returned to Innamincka for the first time in nearly 70 years in 2019 and Ms Beach said they played a key role in keeping the community healthy.

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"Innamincka is so remote, it's really a long way from anywhere," she said.

But the town is a vital hub for many.

"There are quite a lot of people who live in the Cooper Basin, there are lots of contractors coming in and then there's a huge population of people travelling through," Ms Beach said.

A generous donation

The clinic, which is yet to have its official opening, was made possible because of a donation from an anonymous person.

Ms Beach was unable to give specifics on who the person was, but said she was well liked within the community.

"She does prefer to remain fairly quiet about it, but a lot of the local people have met her," she said.

"We're just waiting for all of this to be done and for COVID to give us a bit more freedom and then we will do a proper opening."

Making the outback safer

Ali Matthews is a mother of two and runs one of the three businesses at Innamincka.

She said having the clinic based at the remote town gave her peace of mind.

"A great service to have now and it just makes all the difference," she said.

"We're not really remote anymore … because we've got all the services."

Keelan Howard from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia said medical clinics in remote areas made visiting those areas more accessible to tourists.

He said it gave people the confidence to visit remote places.

"We are a developed country, and we do have expectations," he said.

"It encourages people to go further afield and visit these wonderful little towns in the outback of Australia."

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This is interesting!