Call the doctor for Lyndon: withdrawal unit in danger of closing doors

PROGNOSIS ISN’T GOOD: Chief executive officer of the Lyndon Community Ed Zarnow says the service is desperate for a doctor or it will have to close. Photo: STEVE GOSCH                                                                                               0725lyndon1

PROGNOSIS ISN’T GOOD: Chief executive officer of the Lyndon Community Ed Zarnow says the service is desperate for a doctor or it will have to close. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0725lyndon1

THE Lyndon withdrawal unit located on the Bloomfield campus is in danger of closing as it can’t secure the services of a doctor.

Chief executive officer of the Lyndon Community Ed Zarnow said a doctor from the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service has been providing temporary medical cover for the last few months since the withdrawal unit’s doctor retired.

“But with the general shortage of doctors in rural NSW the Lyndon withdrawal unit has struggled to secure adequate and regular medical coverage for the facility,” said Mr Zarnow.

He said a general practitioner is needed for around two hours a day on site at Lyndon to assist with the admission process by examining patients and prescribing any necessary medication.

“Some of the patients’ requirements in terms of medications which may need to be prescribed can be complex.

“If the service is forced to close the only alternative for patients will be to attend their local hospitals to undertake treatment or travel to metropolitan areas,” Mr Zarnow said.

The nearest alternative specialist services are at Penrith and Wagga Wagga.

“Most hospitals do not routinely offer drug and alcohol withdrawal services,” Mr Zarnow said.

The Lyndon detox program takes in around 500 people every year for an average of 10 days.

Mr Zarnow said he is hoping there is someone in the community who can come forward to offer their services for two hours a day following the admissions process for clients.

“We are prepared to be flexible as we have exhausted many avenues of inquiry,” he said.

Mr Zarnow said one of his concerns is that clients who are referred through the Orange Local Court and other courts and the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program will not be able to access drug and alcohol rehabilitation services which will eventually impact on their court sentence and case outcome.

Mr Zarnow said medical practices in Orange and the Orange Health Service which shares the same site have been contacted but no doctors can be provided.

A spokesperson for Orange Health Service which shares the campus on which Lyndon is located said as a non-government organisation Lyndon is not affiliated with the health district.

However the spokesperson says the land and building is owned by the NSW Ministry of Health and provided through Western NSW Local Health District.

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