We're waiting up to two weeks to see a doctor
SICK people are waiting up to two weeks to see a GP but the Federal Government maintains we have a better patient-to-doctor ratio than the national average.
The NewsMail reported in May that Bundaberg isn't included in the District of Workforce Shortage because the ratio of patients to GPs is about 793, better than the national ratio of 993 per GP.
Areas that fall outside this classification must adhere to much more stringent criteria when recruiting a GP.
Australian-trained doctors can set up a medical practice here and receive Medicare subsidies but overseas-trained doctors are not eligible and must bill patients privately.
When asked today, if it was acceptable for patients to wait up to two weeks, Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie said "ideally, no”.
"When you're sick you want to see a doctor there and then,” Dr Gillespie said.
"The whole DWS system is an imperfect system, which is why we've set up a group of demographers and interested stakeholders to see if we can get a better system,” he said.
Dr Gilliespie met with Bundaberg GPs to discuss issues surrounding the medical profession.
Doctor David McDougall, who owns 26 medical practices throughout Queensland, previously told the NewsMail that doctors in Bundaberg were being lured to places such as Hervey Bay and Gympie, which could offer them double the pay.
"That's not universal,” Dr Gillespie said.
"For certain practitioners, who come from overseas, they get exemptions under this old scheme, which was based on population statistics from 1991.”
Dr Gillespie said the feedback he had received from doctors was that training and rural clinics, such as University of Queensland's Rural Clinical School Bundaberg campus, were helping retain more doctors.
"But the gestation to get a qualified doctor, that can set up a shingle by themselves, takes about eight or nine years.”