Forbes Medicine and Mind didn't miss a day of service delivery in the wake of the floods that inundated their practice in November 2022.
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But it's come at an immense cost, reflects practice managing director Courtney Hodges 12 months on.
"You forget how much you do in crisis and I'm sure anyone flood-affected must feel the same way," Ms Hodges said.
It's something the practice has only really taken a moment to reflect on with their sole GP Dr Richard Draper named Australia's GP of the Year by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
During the floods the entire contents of the practice had to be relocated three times in a week: from the Cross Street surgery to the motel next door, then to Ms Hodges' home and then their temporary premises by Lake Forbes.
"The first couple of months, we had a lot of physical support from all the people who were very stretched themselves: we literally had patients who gutted the place," Ms Hodges.
Dr Draper and the team continued seeing patients while they coordinated tradespeople working on the practice, then after hours went in to do what they could themselves.
When Cross Street was ready, they relocated again without skipping a day, working through weekends and pulling all-nighters to get everything set up.
"We were trying to minimise the impact where we could to service delivery," Ms Hodges said.
With the exception of the small business grant that was released early, it's all been self-funded from their superannuation - and the costs have run into the hundreds of thousands, only four years after the practice opened.
The arrangements around building ownership - through their superannuation company - mean they weren't eligible for the support available for landlords.
They applied for a subsidised loan, and waited 15 weeks for a response only to be informed they had missed the cut-off for the application despite working to the date they had seen advertised.
It's not okay, Ms Hodges says now she's had time to think about it.
This is Australia after all, surely a GP wiped out by natural disaster gets some support?
Indeed, $5 million was made available in February this year to support health care providers in Lismore devastated by the floods there earlier in 2022.
"Primary care is privately owned but delivering an essential service and there's this massive loophole," Ms Hodges said.
It's not something she or Dr Draper wanted to make a big deal about, but as the months have passed and the further assistance they hoped would come has not been delivered, they believe they have to.
"We should get angry as rural residents, because government is not supporting essential services in our town," Ms Hodges said.
What would support look like?
Primary care businesses must be considered essential services within the context of emergency management - both in preparation, response and recovery to enable us to access the range of financial and physical supports that are available during disasters, Forbes Medicine and Mind says.
But it's not just about them, it's about every flood-affected GP practice in Australia.
The changes need to start at the time of emergency, with recognition that a GP practice has fridges full of vaccines and other essential equipment. That their staff are essential workers so they can access transport to and from work.
As a primary care provider the Medicine and Mind team were busier than ever in that time of crisis: ensuring people had scripts for their regular medications if they'd had to evacuate, liaising with the pharmacies to get people their medications, doing telelink conferences to ensure people cut off by flooding received appropriate treatment for injuries they'd sustained in floodwaters. Their staff gave their time and expertise where they were and how they could.
GPs are also there in the months that follow: when the financial stresses hit, when the uncertainties continue.
For Dr Draper, the contrast of congratulations around the national honour came not even 24 hours before the news that they hadn't even qualified for a subsidised loan - let alone a grant.
"It feels like wading through treacle. Death by 1000 bureaucratic cuts," he said.
On the back of COVID, and the desperate need to recruit more GPs to rural communities, it's a burden they shouldn't have to bear alone.
"We don't want to be 'poor us', it's about the effect of not having our workforce return full steam and the cost to rural areas if we don't do that," Ms Hodges said.
"It's also absolutely critical to the sort of growth and development we hope to see in future."
Medicine and Mind has seen a significant increase in demand for services since the retirement of two long-standing GPs earlier this year, with regional development and with more families looking to move to the country since COVID-19.
"What's one of the actual core things you're looking for: education and health," Ms Hodges said.
"When you think about what you're trying to do here ... we're absolutely at the core of that."
Assistance provided in Forbes is consistent with other flood-affected areas of Australia, the Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care has advised in response to the Advocate's query.
The Government recently announced targeted additional assistance for eligible health care providers in Lismore because of the repeated and severe nature of the flooding events there, the statement explained.
The department explains supports available to Forbes include business recovery grants of up to $50,000 and concessional loans of up to $130,000. Grants for medium sized businesses were also made available.
Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said he was immediately concerned when the issue was brought to his attention.
"I have written representations to my Federal counterparts, the Agriculture Minister and the Regional Health Minister, to raise these concerns with them and will be looking into this issue further to ensure those who deserve funding support get the help they need," he said.
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