Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey is continuing to seek solutions to the rural doctor shortage impacting in regional areas across Grey and recently met with the National Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley to discuss the issue.
“Currently in the Grey electorate we are 29 doctors short,” Mr Ramsey said. “We have a number of towns that have lost their doctors and some where local GPs are not providing a full range of services such as hospital admittance.”
“The Federal Government has recognised the problem and announced a raft of programs in the Federal Budget designed to up-skill doctors to the level required to confidently offer a full range of services.
“Prof Worley was appointed as the nation’s first National Rural Health Commissioner last year and tasked with producing strategies to address the problem.
“He has a long background serving rural communities as a GP and I was impressed with his grasp on the challenges.
“I was particularly interested in ensuring he understands just how pressing the shortage is and we discussed how existing and possible future incentives may be targeted to overcome the central lifestyle and work/family challenges that are such a disincentive to doctors moving to the country.”
Mr Ramsey said he also presented Prof Worley with a copy of his discussion paper addressing doctor shortages which raises the possibility of implementing post code specific Medicare Provider Numbers.
“We also discussed the current criteria for determining the District of (doctor) Workforce Shortage (DWS) areas which is the mechanism that provides for communities which are understaffed with doctors to seek overseas recruits. It’s a mystery to me that a community like Port Augusta was not classed as a DWS in the latest declaration round even though I am constantly getting complaints about waiting times there,” he said. “I have expressed my concerns with the minister’s office and I am pleased she is undertaking a review of the system.”
Media Contact; Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744 Port Pirie Office.
May 17, 2018