A story written & submitted to Healthy North Coast by Arthur Hein, Business Director – Woopi Medical.
In the heart of Woolgoolga’s serene landscapes lies a tale of determination, collaboration, and unwavering dedication.
Dr May Zaw & Arthur Hein, two young visionary individuals, embarked on a mission to create a medical haven that would redefine healthcare for their community. Their journey, a testament to resilience, innovation, and compassion, shines as a beacon of hope for rural medical practice.
The inception of Woopi Medical was a serendipitous fusion of Dr May’s passion for clinical excellence and Arthur’s drive for entrepreneurial ventures. Dr May’s expertise in clinical care complemented Arthur’s background in AI-driven knowledge engineering. Arthur’s reunion with Dr May in a regional area with little IT jobs opportunity sparked a revolutionary idea – to not just find jobs, but to create them.
The story truly began in 2017 when Arthur, propelled by the Rural Doctor Network, established the Woopi Medical Centre. With an initial capital of less than $10,000, two laptops, and essential medical equipment, they embarked on a journey to provide healthcare to a community that had long yearned for medical attention.
The first steps were humble, the building rent waived for the initial three months, as the duo charted a new course for the area that had lacked a GP for a decade. Every Saturday, they traveled over an hour and a half to offer health services, remaining committed even amidst challenges like bushfires and flooding. Their commitment was unwavering.
Their passion for community care only grew stronger. The duo soon rented office space from Bred Pierce Dentist in Woolgoolga. However, the road to transformation was arduous, necessitating around $100,000 plus GST for renovation.
Undeterred, Arthur navigated the intricate landscape of loans, securing 100% of the necessary funds and additional working capital. In September 2017, Woopi Medical Center officially opened its doors, gradually expanding its staff to include the adept senior receptionist Pauline Cowie and the dedicated nurse Leanne Whitaker, who assumed the role of practice manager and practice nurse.
Dr May’s dedication to patient care resonated profoundly. As Dr John Aiken retired, he entrusted his patients, medical equipment, and furniture to Woopi Medical Center, fostering a seamless transition. The legacy of care continued, bolstered by Dr May’s appointment books filling within just two months.
The subsequent year unveiled a pivotal opportunity – the chance to acquire Dr Aiken’s former medical building. With steadfast determination, Arthur secured loans to transform the space into the Woopi Medical building we know today. The timing proved fortuitous, as the pandemic loomed large on the horizon. The new facility, masterfully crafted by Garry Charnock from Xcorp, became a sanctuary of healthcare amidst uncertainty.
Growth ensued organically, a testament to Woopi Medical’s commitment to its staff. Eight GPs, two nurses, and six receptionists now compose a dedicated team that has been nurtured with care and respect. Arthur’s adage, inspired by Richard Branson, encapsulates the ethos – “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” This philosophy has fostered a sense of belonging, as not a single staff member has left their ranks in the six years of Woopi Medical’s journey.
Amidst their triumphs, the duo remains grounded, grateful for the support of the local community and the guidance of the PHN. The beautiful feedback from their patients fuels their dedication to continuously improve and serve with unwavering compassion.
Woopi Medical’s story is a living testament to the transformative power of dedication, innovation, and community-driven care.