MEDICAL ISSUE: Doctor shortages are rife throughout the Bundaberg region and the problem will only get worse as our population ages.
MEDICAL ISSUE: Doctor shortages are rife throughout the Bundaberg region and the problem will only get worse as our population ages. Iain Curry

Diagnosis: Bundy region needs more GPs

DOCTOR shortages are rife throughout the Bundaberg region and the problem will only get worse as our population ages.

But the Federal Government hopes a new initiative will help attract more GPs to regional areas.

The opening of the Federal Government's Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund will work as part of the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline measure.

The fund is targeting organisations that can provide pathways for rural based junior doctors to access an accredited intern rotation in a rural primary care setting, such as a general practice

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said he was concerned that regional and rural communities were not getting their fair share of medical and aged care services.

"Moore Park has recently had difficulty keeping their GP and they are not alone: North Burnett and Banana regions are under constant strain with very few doctors available outside the local hospitals," he said.

"That's why I've been so supportive of the government's Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund.

"It will give our rural communities a far greater ability to attract and keep young doctors with at least 60 extra full-time places made available for young doctors in regional and rural communities."

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the Federal Government was committed to addressing the city-country divide.

"The government provides incentives through the General Practice Rural Incentives Program to encourage medical practitioners to move to and remain in a rural, regional or remote area.

"In 2015, the government sharpened the focus of this program to ensure that the support goes to those areas most in need.

"The Coalition Government has already announced changes to the framework for Rural Workforce Agencies, enhancements to the GP Rural Incentive Program and a new round of funding for the Rural General Practice Grants program."

Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie said doctors who lived and trained in regional and rural areas were more likely to practice in similar areas once they qualified.

Dr Gillespie said the program would cost up to $10 million, supporting 60 doctors each year.

Applicants must apply via www.health.gov.au.


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