Blue Mountains News

Locals Urged To Have A Say On GP Shortages

By Office of Susan Templeman MP - Federal Member for Macquarie
Posted: 12 Sep 2021
Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman speaks to the media at Parliament House in Canberra earlier this year.
The shortage of GPs across the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury will be under the microscope in a new Senate Inquiry, and Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman is urging locals to have their say.

Labor called for the inquiry in a bid to investigate the critical lack of doctors across outer metropolitan, rural and regional Australia.

“This inquiry is long overdue,” Ms Templeman, said.

“Back in July 2019, the Morrison Government made a decision to exclude most of the Mountains and Hawkesbury from being considered as priority areas for GPs, which made it harder for practices to attract and keep extra GPs.

“Only Blackheath and villages west of it are considered priority areas. Katoomba and anywhere east is treated the same as Double Bay, as is the bulk of the Hawkesbury.

“The change also prevents overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools from working with local practices, which have been successful in the past in deducing the wait time for GPs.

“In fact, when Labor was last in government, I worked with NSW Senator Doug Cameron to ensure that the Mountains and Hawkesbury continued to be eligible for the extra incentives for GPs to work here

“Since the latest change, I’ve had a number of GPs and patients raise the problem of shortages with me, and now is the time for anyone who’s had trouble accessing a GP to share their stories with the Senators, in the hope that the situation can be improved.

“This inquiry will investigate what the key factors are in the shortage – everything from the Medicare freeze to the GP training reforms -  and should come up with practical solutions to fix it.

“This needs to be more than another box ticking exercise. Our communities are seeking firm action and a commitment to solutions.”

The Senate Inquiry will also examine the Government’s current classification system, the stronger Rural Health Strategy, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctor shortages.

You can find out more and make a submission to the inquiry here

 
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