Minister for Regional Health Dr David Gillespie has conducted virtual meetings with health professionals from Grey as part of the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to regional health.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said Dr Gillespie was well-placed to understand the needs of regional Australia as a medical specialist who himself worked in a regional centre for more than 30 years.
“There is a chronic shortage of doctors and other health professionals across regional SA and we are committed to finding solutions, but there is no easy fix,” Mr Ramsey said.
“Right across the electorate we have long-term doctors looking to retire, carrying an increasing work load and with little idea as to where their replacements will come from.
“The common theme coming through from the meetings was frustration with the attraction of young medical grauates to the specialties because that is where the big money and increased lifestyle options are.
“All of the participating doctors were well aware of the situation in Wudinna where the long-serving doctor has announced his retirement from that position and now that town joins the long list of communities searching for a doctor.
“We have towns with no doctor at all, others wth services provided almost entirely by very expensive locum services, towns like Minlaton who have had to close their Accident and Emergency facility and others that have had to close something as important and basic as their birthing units.
“All because of staff shortages including, but not only, doctors. This is a very serious situation.
“Essentially it seems we can no longer convince young Australian doctors to come and live in the country and if it were not for overseas trained doctors, our system would have already completely collapsed.
“We need to find health professionals who are willing to commit to country areas and ensure we meet the needs of doctors and their families so they can live and work in regional Australia.”
Dr Gillespie had meetings with Dr George Kokar of Yorketown, Dr Steve Holmes of Clare, Dr Gerald Quigley of Cummins and Kadina pharmacist Tim Gross who outlined the issues they face providing health services in the regions to the Minister and Mr Ramsey.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744
November 10 2021.