Ulong Health Hub share plans to add second consultation room

Dr Ruthnam from Northside Clinic, Carol Cleary of Ulong General Store & Café and Chair of the Community Hall, Katie Sibio from the Ulong Community Hall committee, Lisa Taffe from TAFE, Cr Scott Wolgamot from City of Coffs Harbour Council and Monika Wheeler from Healthy North Coast.

TWO years up-and-running, the Ulong Health Hub is now on the brink of another major milestone, to build a second consultation room.

The driving force behind this next momentous step, the proprietor of Ulong General Store and Café in the Valley and Chair of the Ulong Community Hall, Carol Cleary, hosted a celebration for the official second anniversary of establishing the health service and shared the plans for extending the facilities.

Peter LeedhamAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us – media@newsofthearea.com.au

The Health Hub has proven to be a huge benefit to the Eastern Dorrigo region’s community, minimising the need for travel to access services, and providing early intervention for potentially serious health issues for some of their patients.

The current service includes monthly GP consultations with Dr Ruthnam from Northside Clinic in Coffs Harbour, who travels to Ulong once a month providing health checks and support to the residents.

The second consultation room will mean the nurses will be able to provide a range of treatments, none of which are currently available locally to the region’s residents.

Representing City of Coffs Harbour (CoCH), Councillor Scott Wolgamot spoke to the gathered residents saying he’d checked in with CoCH’s planning department and was told everything was in order with the DA for the second room and no issues were expected.

It is estimated the DA will be approved within two months.

The locals responded with cheers and clapping.

“The Health Hub journey has been a classic one of a small community that really cares about its residents being the driving force behind the creation of a service that many would have thought impossible when it began,” he said.

A critical link in the health service chain for the rural community is the support of TAFE with Lisa Taffe, Head Teacher across health, aged care and nursing, striking a working relationship with Carol Cleary and the Ulong Community Hall’s Committee, to bring her student nurses up to Ulong every month to provide basic health checks as well as more advanced clinical offers.

“With the second room and the student nurses in attendance we will be able to provide day procedures such as iron infusions, IVF injections, immunisation, ECGs, pap smears etc,” Lisa told News Of The Area.

Student nurses range from school kids to mature students, all furthering their education and experience of nursing in a real-life rural community.

“It’s a win-win; for our students it ticks so many boxes in terms of workplace hours as well as the exposure with communication and diversity and clinical skill application in a primary health care setting,” said Lisa.

“From strokes to premmie babies to diagnosing diabetes, it’s important experience for the student nurses.”

Sitting tight for the DA approval, Carol told the gathering that everything was in place to go as soon as they got the green light.

“The extension and fit-out is being funded by Healthy North Coast, NSW Department of Health, with funding arranged by Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, local community member donations and in-kind support from local tradespeople, suppliers and City of Coffs Harbour.”

Gumbaynggirr Elder Estelle Wade, who lives in Lowanna, gave the Welcome to Country.

Estelle has worked at Coffs Health Campus for 38 years and understands not only the challenges of sickness and health needs living rurally, but the stresses of getting into Coffs Harbour from Ulong when you are unwell.

“We are all so grateful to have this Health Hub and the opportunity to build on it, thanks to the community’s hard work and commitment,” she said.

Unveiled at the celebration was an artwork created through the Ulong/Lowanna community weaving project held late last year led by Jasmine Avery who moved to Ulong in 2021 and feels a deep connection to the supportive community.

“This unveiling ties in with the Health Hub anniversary as it was born out of funding by the Bushfire Recovery Funding, via Arts Mid North Coast Arts Mid Coast, which supports projects that use art in recovery after such things as floods, bushfire and Covid,” said Jasmine.

The weaving workshops were held at the hall and the school with 55 people in attendance.

“We came together and connected as a community to remember that’s where our strengths lie.

“We named the project Ties That Bind and the idea was that I would join all the pieces together in a community artwork that would hang here in the Community Hall,” she said.

In closing Carol said, “Today is a celebration of the Health Hub happening; it is a wonderful opportunity for this community and thank you to all the key players.”


Leave a Reply