Katherine's longstanding GP crisis, a concern long before Gorge Health owner Dr Peter Spafford closed his doors, has been further diminished as plans for a second private clinic get underway.
With a local government area population of over 10,000, latest projections recommend "ideal staffing" should sit at 9.1 doctors - for years, Katherine relied on just two.
The closure of Gorge Health in October sparked fears resident's would be left with no doctor at all and would be forced to drive three hours for an appointment.
But yesterday, a group of local business owners announced the opening of the Katherine Family Medical Practice on Katherine Terrace with the view of hiring four doctors.
Today, a second announcement could bring Katherine's total general practitioners to eight.
Katherine resident Anjalia Palmer, says the decision to "spend the rest of her life in Katherine" was the main driver to taking over the old Gorge Health clinic.
"Seeing the general practice not going ahead was a shock... it seemed so wrong," Anjalia Palmer said.
"My background is in health and when the opportunity came up to create the practice, to make it person centred, I couldn't pass it up."
The new clinic, named Bauhinia Health, after a native Indigenous tree, is expected to open in early March.
Operating as a mixed-billing service, Ms Palmer said there is scope for specialised services including pathology, gynaecology, ophthalmology and skin cancer screenings.
Ms Palmer says she will also be establishing a foundation to provide scholarships for Katherine students to study a health profession on the proviso they return to work in Katherine.
"The practice is about building a long-term future so we are never in the position we've been in for the past couple of months again," she said.
The "ultimate plan" she says is to cut out the long waiting periods that have marred Katherine for years and ensure residents are not faced with long drives for medical attention.
"For people who need urgent attention on the day we will be providing assurance there will be a number of appointments available," Ms Palmer said.
"We want to provide primary health care so emergency care can be provided at the Katherine Hospital."
As the old clinic is gutted and revived to make way for the new, the challenge as opening nears is securing appropriate housing for incoming doctors, Ms Palmer said.
According to data by real estate analysts CoreLogicor, for the first time in 15 years house prices in regional Australia have risen at a higher annual rate than in capital cities, as COVID-19 increases people's desire to live outside the big smoke.
Rentals have become increasingly difficult to secure as well.
"There is a dearth of housing for professionals in Katherine," Ms Palmer said.
"In terms of getting long term doctors that is really important and it is something we are still working on."
She says she has a verbal commitment from three Northern Territory doctors, and holds high hopes that number will increase to four permanent general practitioners.
"We want the GPs to own the practice's philosophy: person centred primary health care."
Katherine MLA Jo Hersey said the sudden swell to Katherine's medical field is fantastic. "There will never be too many doctors," she said.
"As the MLA I am here to help the needs of the community, so when I knew Gorge Health was closing I jumped into talks with the Northern Territory PHN about setting up a long-term, sustainable clinic.
"The interim clinic was only ever going to be just that, a short term solution."
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