National Health Co-op to open branch in Yass

Brooke Watson, with her children Amber and Zoey, with Michael Pilbrow in front of the site for the new NHC branch. Photo: supplied
Brooke Watson, with her children Amber and Zoey, with Michael Pilbrow in front of the site for the new NHC branch. Photo: supplied

Yass Valley will soon benefit from a local National Health Co-op (NHC) branch, which is set to open on October 23 on Comur Street. 

The NHC is a community-funded, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to provide affordable healthcare to local communities. 

It was established in 2010 in the ACT, where there are now eight branches spread across the territory. 

The Yass branch will be the NHC’s first out-of-area office, and general manager Blake Wilson expects it will be well-received by the community. 

“We know that people in the community are excited to see more bulk-billing providers coming into town,” Mr Wilson said.

“Especially a bit of a different business model that’s community-owned. We find that that’s really well-received.

“We’re already servicing about 700 patients in Yass, so that cohort’s going to be pretty happy that they’ve got a surgery so much closer.” 

Yass has received services from the NHC since 2011. 

Mr Wilson believes the organisation and other services like it are critical to rural communities that might not otherwise receive the same level of healthcare as urban communities. 

“Obviously the reason that the NHC exists is to provide access to affordable healthcare,” Mr Wilson said.

“That’s the thing that’s been missing in regional and rural Australia for so long.” 

Founding member and board representative for the NHC Michael Pilbrow is excited to see the company expand its horizons beyond Canberra.

"The co-op model is a great model as it allows the community to actually own the business, not just be users of a service,” Mr Pilbrow said. 

Brooke Watson, a local mother, also felt positive about the opening of the NHC in Yass. “As a mum of young kids, I am really pleased that the Co-op is opening a clinic in Yass ... I am planning to join up our whole family as members,” Mrs Watson said. 

An information session will be held on Thursday night, October 12. There will be opportunities for questions, a tour of the site, and talks from the doctors who will work at the Co-op. The information session will run 6pm to 7pm at the Memorial Hall, 82-94 Comur Street.