NEED FOR GPS: Dr Nicholas Aalders and indigenous health practitioner Kane Chapman at the IWC Medical Centre. The IWC is calling for Federal Government action to bring GPs to Bundaberg for the IWC and other medical practices in the region.
NEED FOR GPS: Dr Nicholas Aalders and indigenous health practitioner Kane Chapman at the IWC Medical Centre. The IWC is calling for Federal Government action to bring GPs to Bundaberg for the IWC and other medical practices in the region. Simon Young

Pitt: Budget measures will improve GPs

FEDERAL Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt says regional health training is the solution to retaining GPs in the region.

Mr Pitt was responding to concerns raised by Integrated Wellbeing Centre general manager Wayne Mulvany, who said the centre's books were currently closed as they struggled to find doctors.

Mr Mulvany argued the region's rural and remote classification, at RRMA3, needed to be brought in line with regions to our south, such as Hervey Bay and Gympie that are rated RRMA4.

The classification rates regions' health needs based on their locality.

His comments were in relation to newcomer Sharon Wratten's difficulty finding a new GP for her and her family. Mrs Wratten phoned upward of eight practices before being able to get an appointment.

But instead of focussing on the remote classification, Mr Pitt pointed to another indicator - District of Workforce Shortage, which areas are branded when the ratio of doctors to patients falls below the average.

"Bundaberg is not considered to be a District of Workforce Shortage for GPs as the population in the area has better access to services attracting a MBS rebate than the national average, which is 980 persons per full-time GP,” he said.

Mr Pitt also made mention of measures announced in Tuesday night's budget.

"The Stronger Rural Health Strategy will improve access to doctors, nurses and other health care services for all Australians, especially those in the regions,” he said.

"It will provide greater opportunities for Australian doctors through better teaching, training, recruitment and retention. The package will see growth in multidisciplinary care and increased access to nursing and allied health services.

"The Coalition Government committed $28.5 million to 26 Regional Training Hubs in the regions, one of which is based in Bundaberg, to help get more doctors and health professionals into regional Australia.

"A high proportion of students who study in the regions, stay in the regions, which is why we are supporting high quality regional health training.”



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