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Senate Inquiry Into Regional GP Shortages


A shortage of general practitioners across the federal electorate of Gilmore has

become the subject of a senate inquiry.


Federal Member, Fiona Philips, was front and centre in Labor’s backing for the inquiry

saying, “We need practical, positive solutions to make sure Australians have access to

quality health care regardless of where they live.”


“The GP shortage issue in my electorate is at crisis point! In the Bay and Basin area

alone, we have seen seven doctors retire, with the one remaining doctor, at the

Sanctuary Point Medical Centre, also retiring soon and no replacement in sight” Mrs

Phillips said.


“A lack of doctors and other medical professionals across Australia is not a new

problem, but a series of government decisions and the pandemic means it really is

time to spotlight this critical issue before people are left with no healthcare options in

their community,” Mrs Phillips said.


The inquiry into the provision of GP’s within regional, rural, and outer metropolitan

areas nationwide is now open for submissions with a final report to be handed down

next year.


Mrs Phillips added, “The shortage of GP’s is certainly not limited to the Bay and Basin

area, definitely throughout the Shoalhaven, particularly around Nowra and Worrigee

there are increasing demands given the elderly population.”


“Further, there is no difference within the Eurobodalla. Constituents across Batemans

Bay and Moruya are contacting my office and providing firsthand accounts on how it

takes too long to get an appointment... Jenny explaining her wait was 10-20 days!”


The inquiry will examine policies such as the Rural Health Strategy, reforms to

distribution priority areas and the Modified Monash Model geographical classification

system.


Mrs Phillips in a speech to federal parliament said “The system is broken. We now

have a two-tier medical system where those who have lost their GP due to practice

closure, retirement or relocation cannot afford to pay private billing fees and have

little or no access to a general practitioner. There is so much that needs to be done to

improve regional people’s access to GP’s. More than ever, the government needs to

start listening.”


The link to the Senate Inquiry and to make a submission is here:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/PrimaryHealthServices


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