MONTO residents are feeling the pressure arising from a lack of doctors as a gastro bug sweeps through the small community.
The bug has left the town’s nursing home, Ridgehaven Retirement Complex, in lockdown to stop residents from contracting the illness.
The facility’s care manager, Annette Painter, said even without the added pressure of the bug, the sole locum doctor in Monto was struggling.
“To see the doctor we have to transfer them up to the (Monto) hospital, which involves a lot of otherwise unnecessary transfers,” she said.
Mrs Painter said the doctor was often working on less than four hours sleep in an effort to see all those needing medical care.
“How are we supposed to retain these doctors? Who wants to work like that?” she said.
Mrs Painter said that when the town had two doctors, one would visit Ridgehaven regularly and be able to complete all the routine check-ups at that time.
“We haven’t seen him recently and that’s because he can’t physically get down here because he is so busy,” she said.
Monto Medical Centre manager Rebecca Davis said the frustrations people felt in the district were unfortunately directed at the wrong people in the community.
“People need to direct their anger at the state government, not the private practice, doctors, hospital staff and pharmacy staff,” she said.
Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District northern cluster manager Beth Norton said Queensland Health viewed it as imperative another doctor was appointed in Monto, but had been facing difficulty in the recruitment process.
Ms Norton said the issue was not unique to the Monto area.
“Queensland Health is also actively engaged with the Rural Generalists Program — a specific two-year training program targeting doctors to make a career in rural medicine,” she said.
Ms Norton said Monto residents had other options including visiting the Monto Medical Centre and travelling to the Mundubbera and Eidsvold hospitals — more than an hour’s drive away.