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Book Your Appointments Now for the Discovery Coast’s New GP-led Integrated Health Service

Last updated:
13/11/2023

IMPACT Community Health Service (ICHS) is excited to announce that residents can now book their appointments online for the opening of its new GP-led Integrated Health Service on Monday, November 13.

This marks a significant milestone in ICHS’s commitment to providing comprehensive, patient-centred care to the Discovery Coast community.

The Integrated Health Service, led by Clinical Lead Dr Dani Buchanan, offers a range of GP, community health and allied health services tailored to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the region’s community. This service has been designed to offer a comprehensive place-based model of health and social care, ensuring that it aligns seamlessly with the unique needs of the growing Discovery Coast region.

“We believe that this integrated approach, led by a dedicated team of professionals, will empower our community to lead healthier, happier lives,” said Pamela Mackie, ICHS Practice Manager.

The convenience and accessibility of having a GP within the community healthcare service cannot be overstated. This holistic approach to healthcare integrates GP services with nursing and allied health, providing a one-stop solution for all healthcare needs.

Mrs Mackie also said the interior renovations of ICHS Building 1 were now complete.

“The health service now boasts a modern new look and design that enhances the overall patient experience,” she said.

Residents can now book their appointments at https://ichs.org.au/.

Dr Dani Buchanan, a proud Agnes Water local with extensive experience in rural healthcare and emergency medicine, is looking forward to getting started with the “great team” at ICHS.

“I’m looking forward to the project growing over the next couple of years into something that is really valuable for the community,” he said.

For more information about IMPACT Community Health Service and its new GP-led Integrated Health Service, please visit https://ichs.org.au/.

IMPACT Community Health Service (ICHS) is thrilled to announce the launch of its GP-led Integrated Health Service, which will offer a range of GP, community health and allied health services tailored to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the Discovery Coast community. Dr Dani Buchanan has been appointed by IMPACT Community Services as Clinical Lead to the project.

ICHS’s GP led Integrated Health Service has been designed to offer a comprehensive place-based model of health and social care, ensuring that it aligns seamlessly with the unique needs of the growing Discovery Coast region. Complementing the existing array of services provided by ICHS, the Integrated Health Service will serve as a cornerstone in delivering tailored healthcare solutions to the local population now and as it evolves into the future.

The Integrated Health Service will open on Monday 13 November.

Pamela Mackie, ICHS Practice Manager, expressed her enthusiasm for this significant development, stating, "The launch of our GP led Integrated Health Service marks a pivotal moment in our commitment to enhancing healthcare access and quality within the Discovery Coast region. We believe that this integrated approach, led by a dedicated team of professionals, will empower our community to lead healthier, happier lives."

Dr Dani Buchanan, a proud Agnes Water local, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his role as Clinical Lead of ICHS’s Integrated Health Service. Dr. Dani's journey from naturopathy to medicine, combined with his extensive experience in rural healthcare and emergency medicine, makes him an invaluable asset to the community. His passion for general practice, chronic disease management, and emergency care aligns perfectly with ICHS’s mission to provide evolving healthcare solutions for the local community.

Dr Dani said he was looking forward to joining the “great team” at ICHS, stating, "I'm looking forward to the project growing over the next couple of years into something that is really valuable for the community."

The health sector has a range of frontline workers and at IMPACT Community Health Service’s base in the Discovery Coast, one of the first people you’ll see is Veronica Daniel.

The ICHS receptionist is a vital part of the community health team in Agnes Water and the wider region.

Having started her role in March 2020, Veronica said it was an “interesting” time, not only did she have to learn the ins and outs of her role, but how to do so amid a pandemic.

But it was a learning curve she was keen to persevere through.

With a passion for helping and dealing with people, Veronica said she really loves being on the front desk.

“I enjoy helping clients when they come in,” she said

“That would be my favourite thing, I absolutely love being on reception.”

Veronica said they had a nice team at the ICHS, working in a cohesive environment.

“You’re never left drowning, if something happens people are quick to step in and help,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful environment.

“It’s a really nice place to work, we work hard and have fun.”

She said they got a lot of “really nice feedback” from clients expressing their appreciation for the services and the work they we do.

Veronica said it would be great to get even more services available for the community.

The townships and their surrounding areas encompassed by the ICHS are:

• Agnes Water

• Seventeen Seventy

• Baffle Creek / Wartburg

• Rosedale

• Lowmead

• Miriam Vale

• Bororen

• Turkey Beach

Impact Community Health Service (ICHS) operates in the Health Precinct at 2 Rafting Ground Road Agnes Water and from outreach clinics in Baffle Creek and Miriam Vale.

Our Health Precinct provides a range of health services through co-located and visiting health providers, along with Nursing and Allied Health Services provided by ICHS.

The ICHS is open 8.30am-4.30pm weekdays. For more information click here.

The Agnes Water and Discovery Coast region has long been known for its picturesque and laid-back atmosphere but has historically lacked pivotal services to welcome community expansion. 

IMPACT Community Health Service's Pam Mackie and Dowdall Optometry Group's Rory Dowdall
IMPACT Community Health Service's Pam Mackie and Dowdall Optometry Group's Rory Dowdall

Given the climate created by the COVID-19 pandemic the community is now experiencing significant population growth as people migrate away from hotspot locations, increasing the pressure on existing community services and demanding further resource in the health space. 

IMPACT Community Services’ Discovery Coast Health Precinct has a well-established reputation within the region and is pleased to offer a solution by providing communal office spaces for visiting allied health professionals to operate from. 

One such practitioner that has recently started visiting IMPACT’s Community Health Precinct is Rory Dowdall from Dowdall Optometry Group. 

Rory started his mobile optometry service after the first wave of COVID-19 hit, when subsequent lockdowns left his permanent role at a Brisbane optometry clinic in question. 

He decided to capitalise on the situation and took a chance at paving his own way. 

Over the past 18 months Rory has built up his own equipment and now services 9 locations throughout Queensland. 

After being approached by Checkup Australia he jumped at the opportunity to service the Discovery Coast community. 

“There’s a huge gap in regional services, and Agnes hasn’t had (an optometrist) for over 12 years,” he said. 

Although only contracted for two days a month by the government, Rory has decided to extend his visits to the idyllic coastal town for longer stints given the demand. 

His goal is to be based at IMPACT’s Agnes Water-based Community Health Precinct for 5 days each month to service the ongoing need. 

“Some people I’ve seen have been wearing glasses that are about 10 years old and are falling apart, so I’m glad I can come in, help them out and update their scripts,” he said. 

“I’ve already had a few glaucoma suspects that haven’t been seen for about six or so years, which is pretty scary.  

“At the same time, it’s great that I can come in and provide care for them and make sure they don’t lose visions or have any problems that could have been managed quite easily just because of where they live. 

“We don’t want anyone, just because you live in a regional area, to fall through the cracks.” 

Rory wants to change the way people approach optometry in rural areas. 

The travelling optometrist offers bulk billing for exams and has access to both DVA support and the medical aid subsidy scheme, which provides free glasses for health care card and pension card holders.  

“I just try and make it affordable for everyone,” Rory said. 

“I want to make sure nobody feels like they’re priced out of a service, which unfortunately a lot of the time people feel (is a barrier).” 

Rory said anyone over 65 should be having their eyes checked every year, and people under 65 every two. 

He recommends children should also be checked before starting school and has picked up a number of potential health issues in his patients based on their eye health. 

“I can tell people with high cholesterol, I can pre-diagnose diabetes, I have diagnosed over 50 patients with auto-immune conditions that were unknown to their GPs, so it’s one of those things where a thorough eye check can help not just from an eyes point of view but from a systemic point of view as well,” Rory said. 

If you live in or visit the Discovery Coast region and would like to make an appointment with Rory, phone the IMPACT Community Health Service on 07 4902 2000 or visit the health precinct at 2 Rafting Ground Road, Agnes Water. 

Optometry appointments for the Agnes Water clinic can be made directly online at https://bit.ly/dowdall  

IMPACT Community Health Service's Pam Mackie and Dowdall Optometry Group's Rory Dowdall
IMPACT Community Health Service's Pam Mackie and Dowdall Optometry Group's Rory Dowdall

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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