GP obstetricians: pushed out of KHC
The Goldfields’ longest-serving general practitioner obstetrician has echoed concerns moves by the Kalgoorlie Health Campus to “push GPs out” of hospital involvement is aggravating the region’s doctor crisis.
Plaza Medical practice principal and GP obstetrician Kylie Sterry this week told the Kalgoorlie Miner she had been unable to look after her public obstetric patients in hospital for the past 12 months, and had only been rostered on to see her privately insured patients one day a week.
Tower Medical Centre’s Malcolm Hodsdon, who worked as a GPO in the Goldfields from 1979 until recently, said the hospital also stopped him from being able to see his public patients in hospital.
“Not only do I not do any obstetrics, now I don’t look after any of my (public) patients in hospital,” he said.
He said a lack of engagement between the hospital and local GPs was having a significant effect on the Goldfields’ extreme doctor shortage, which he described as the worst he had ever experienced.
“GPs used to be able to follow with continuity of care, but that’s not happening anymore,” he said.
“There’s no way young doctors will come to Kalgoorlie.
“I can’t count the number of GPs who have come here to do their training and develop skills in obstetrics, emergency medicine etc.”
WA Country Health Service Goldfields acting regional director Peter Tredinnick said there had been changes to the maternity unit at Kalgoorlie Health Campus in the past year or so but no restrictions had been implemented.
He said GPOs continued to provide low-risk obstetric services for both public and private patients, and GPs without advanced obstetric training could partner in a “shared-care arrangement” with services at the hospital.
Dr Hodsdon said he was no longer doing deliveries because he did not see enough private patients to warrant continuing the practice.
The Royal Australian College of GPs said last week the State’s hospitals were shying away from GPOs being involved in births.
Dr Mal Hodsdon is a long-serving Kalgoorlie GPO.