Tuesday 15th May 2018
Chronic shortages of local doctors is a problem rural and regional communities know all too well says Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh.
Mr Walsh told state parliament last week that the rural township of Kerang is currently facing a critical shortage of doctors that could potentially impact on the level of care available to the community.
“Kerang and district had been well served over many years by some long-serving doctors like Dr Wood Dr Keogh and Lindsay and Dianne Sherriff.
“Unfortunately for the community these doctors have now all retired or moved on to other duties in their lives” Mr Walsh said.
He said both the Fitzroy Street Medical Clinic and the Kerang Medical Clinic are working hard to recruit new doctors but are finding it difficult.”
“The challenge for country towns is made more difficult by the fact that many potential doctors actually do not want to work as a visiting medical officer at their local hospital.
“The reality of being on call all hours of the day and night and weekends and being taken away from their existing practice is not appealing.
Mr Walsh said this issue alone had the potential to affect rural hospitals right across Victoria and needed to be addressed.
“Country communities deserve good access to doctors.
“What is taken for granted in the city is not the case in the country.
“I am pleased to see the federal government introduce the Stronger Rural Health Strategy in its 2018/19 Federal Budget.
“What rural communities like Kerang and Cohuna need now is support from the Victorian state government to deliver the health services that are so important for those towns – services that people in Melbourne taken for granted.
“It’s time for Daniel Andrews and his city centric government to start listening to rural and regional communities and introduce strong policy that will deliver equitable health care for rural and regional people.”