End of era for family doctors hard to fathom: KAP

Apr 21, 2022

End of era for family doctors hard to fathom: KAP

Apr 21, 2022

KATTER’s Australian Party (KAP) candidate for Dawson, Ciaron Paterson, says the potential closure of Bowen’s only remaining GP clinic sends a message about how dire the GP shortage is in regional Australia, and is calling on the federal government to undertake urgent action to address the growing gaps in primary health care. 

“Bowen, the second gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and hop, skip and a jump from the iconic Airlie Beach, why wouldn’t you want to come and live in paradise? 

“Yet here we have yet another medical practice closing in our region, following news that Queens Beach medical centre, after 40 years practising and servicing tens of thousands of people, cannot find anyone to take over a practice with 5000 residents in the catchment.” 

Mr Paterson said part of the solution is for the federal government to overhaul the medical placement scheme following revelations that graduating students have 18 years to complete their rural placement. 

“The average person would think that a bonded placement means young doctors are flooding into rural Australia. 

“But a loophole in the scheme means that they may never actually get out into the regions.” 

Mr Paterson also said additional measures are needed to ensure doctors go into general practice in the first place. 

“Expanding medical school places won’t do anything if graduating doctors aren’t going into general practice, and incentives need to be put in place to encourage doctors to go into that field.” 

Mr Paterson said primary health care was a responsibility the LNP federal government seemed unable or unwilling to address. 

“The LNP’s answer to the GP crisis is for state-funded hospitals to take over primary and community-based health care. 

“Our emergency departments are getting slammed because of some pretty glaring policy failures at the federal level. 

“At the same time, the federal government cut funding to the Queensland health system in their last budget to the tune of $176 million over the next two years. 

“What we are seeing is the era of the family doctor coming to an end. 

“It’s another sad loss for the community but a bigger loss to our sense of what it means to be Australian.”