GREAT Lakes Council resolved last week to terminate the lease of Bulahdelah Doctor Adele Habashy following revelations he has been working at a practice in Sydney on limited duties.
Dr Habashy has rented the council-owned medical centre and adjoining residence in Bulahdelah for the past 22 years, but has been on sick leave since September last year following a series of back surgeries and a heart attack.
He has stated that he is currently unable to return to Bulahdelah where he has provided GP and Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) services to the Bulahdelah community.
The revelation that Dr Habashy has been working in Sydney came as a surprise to council, the Bulahdelah Hospital Auxiliary and Hunter New England Health with acting director of primary and community networks Susan Heyman saying at the beginning of June that
“Dr Habashy failed to meet the deadline to reapply for the renewal of his VMO rights. Given his new arrangements in Sydney, it is unlikely that there would be a mutually agreeable arrangement where he could provide services to the hospital.”
The report, tabled at last week’s ordinary meeting of council, cited anecdotal evidence that other Bulahdelah businesses, particularly the local pharmacy, were being adversely affected by the absence of a permanent doctor with suggestions that people forced to travel outside the area for medical treatment were also conducting other business elsewhere.
It also said that the termination of Dr Habashy’s lease would assist the Bulahdelah community in recruiting a new doctor as it would allow council to carry out renovations to make the residence more appealing to prospective doctors.
The report also contained a copy of an unsigned letter from Dr Habashy saying that the premises would be vacated by the end of July.