The sight of Cloncurry’s old dental chair moving down the highway on a forklift was a fair indication to the people of Cloncurry that the dental clinic was on the move to its new location.
The new Dental Clinic and Community Health Centre on McIlwraith and Uhr Sts is now open and NWHHS dentist, Travis Blood, is pleased with the new facility.
“As much as we will miss the character of the old clinic and its nearly 60 years of history, this new facility is a good space in which people can receive the services they need,” Dr Blood said.
The new clinic is having the finishing touches added and it is a step up from the old facility.
However, even a new facility doesn’t protect health professionals against the problems of working in remote locations.
“When you work in our many isolated clinics dotted around the Outback, sometimes you have to be fairly resourceful,” Dr Blood said.
“The other day the power went out in Cloncurry. We could not use the dental curing light to set some fillings I had just finished placing.
“We needed a good light source with a significant amount of blue light in its spectrum so we used the patient’s own iPhone with its LED torch function. It worked well as a temporary measure although it took quite some time.”
Dr Blood said it was not the first time they have used this light source as in the past numerous power outages during the wet season have occurred mid-way through dental procedures.
The new clinic has a back-up power generator inherited from the prior tenants. Once it is reconditioned, power outages, at least in the Cloncurry dental clinic, should be a thing of the past.
The first patient to be seen in the new clinic was well known Cloncurry identity, Herbert Fortune, who helped form the Cloncurry Night Patrol and is still on the committee.
Herbert drove cattle on horseback over large distances in his youth and as a train driver drove steam locomotives and the first diesel-electrics that came out west.
He was the last person to drive a train on the old line out to Kajabbi.