I was compelled today to point out the shortage of general practitioners in rural and regional Australia. A problem the Coalition failed to address during the nine years it was in power. This crisis is not only risking the health and wellbeing of Australians who live in rural and regional areas. It is costing taxpayers and the economy a great deal of money.
The town of Moura in central Queensland hasn’t had a permanent GP since December, and went without a doctor for more than a week back in March. Local residents were forced to resort to telehealth appointments or else drive 65 kilometres to Biloela to see a doctor.
It’s no wonder doctors are leaving regional areas – the workload is horrendous, and many are burnt out or exhausted.
And it’s not just doctors.
There are shortages of a wide range of health practitioners: nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, psychologists, podiatrists and occupational therapists are all in short supply. Then there’s aged and palliative care – the lack of these services in regional Queensland is appalling. We must do more to encourage and incentivise Australians to study medicine, and to practice in the country.
Importing doctors is not the solution – up to 12,000 foreign doctors have applied to work in Australia but cannot pass the standards required and many cannot even speak English, which risks misdiagnoses and adverse medical outcomes.
It’s also worth noting here the impact of COVID-19 vaccine mandates – many are not allowed to treat patients because they have not taken the wonder-jab. Isn’t it amazing that bureaucrats think they know more than doctors about the safety and efficacy of the wonder-jab?
This all adds up to a potential disaster in the making. Rural and regional Australia should be prioritised, not neglected.
All Australians should be able to afford and access quality medical care regardless of where they live!