Pictured (L-R): North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network Chief Executive Chris Carter, Karen Hook, Dr Sobia Tahir.
When the Sunbury Priority Primary Care Centre (PPCC) opened in late June 2023 one of the first people through the door was local resident Karen Hook.
The PPCC had been set up inside Goonawarra Medical Centre, at which Karen had been a patient for more than 8 years and had established a strong doctor-patient relationship with clinician Dr Sobia Tahir.
This visit, however, was different. That morning Karen realised she needed urgent medical help and concluded that she did not have the time to make a regular, scheduled appointment.
Like all PPCCs, the Sunbury clinic was established to provide free treatment for urgent matters to anyone, with or without advance notice. Karen, therefore, made her way to the front door and entered.
After checking in with the reception staff, she was delighted to discover that one of the GPs on duty that day was Dr Tahir.
“So I was one of the first patients at the Sunbury PPCC,” Karen remembered.
“I had a lump on my leg and it was a suspected blood clot. If I hadn’t been able to come here I would have had to go to Sunshine Hospital Emergency Department.
“But even getting there would have been a problem because the lump was on my right leg, and I wouldn’t have been able to drive. So being able to come here was just awesome.”
Being treated by her regular doctor was a bonus, but the whole experience of being able to attend a PPCC, she remarked, was a huge relief.
“If I was going to hospital I’d be stressed out, but coming here I’m seeing someone I’m comfortable with,” she said.
“I can give them my symptoms and they see the real me. In hospital I would have been nervous and worried about parking and all those other things. I think it’s absolutely awesome to have this nearby.”
Dr Tahir agreed.
“There is definitely a need for an urgent care centre in this area,” she said.
“I’m so happy and excited that it’s been established in our clinic, and that we were chosen for that.”
Each PPCC is directly linked to a major hospital. In the case of the Sunbury centre, that’s the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“We have very close links with the Royal Melbourne Hospital and that’s a very good thing for us,” said Dr Tahir.
“It means we can liaise with them, and if we feel the need we can ask for their opinions for any patient.”
The Sunbury PPCC is at 1/5 Dornoch Drive and is open 7 days a week. Booking details for all PPCCs are available here.