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A new medical clinic is now open in Stratford, giving locals easier access to a general practitioner.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester officially opened the Stratford Medical Centre today.

The centre has been built in the main street next door to the pharmacy on the corner of Tyers and Dixon streets.

“Stratford is a vibrant town with a population around 2600, including 720 families,” Mr Chester said.

“The 2016 census showed 20 percent of the town’s population was aged under 14 and almost 18% was over 65, so being able to have a doctor in their town is important to many people.

“The new medical centre will complement the neighbouring pharmacy. Locals will be able to see the GP and then go next door to get any prescriptions filled.”

The medical centre is run by Dr Adbul Hanafi, who has been working in Stawell since migrating to Australia in 2011. He chose Stratford as the location for his practice because it was a growing town in need of a doctor.

Mr Chester said one of Australia’s biggest health challenges was getting more doctors to work in regional, rural and remote areas.

“The Federal Government is working to address this issue, including by supporting rural primary care rotations for first year interns. This experience in regional and rural practice increases the likelihood young doctors will continue working in these locations,” Mr Chester said.

“It is terrific to see the Stratford community, led by Ray Veal, work to support Dr Hanafi to establish a medical practice in town.”

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