Cal­liope’s des­per­ate fight for its re­gional doc­tors

The Observer - - NEWS -

SINCE Cal­liope Med­i­cal Cen­tre closed last Fri­day, more than 1000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion calling for GP ser­vices to be re­tained in the town­ship.

The re­gional doc­tors short­age has united Glad­stone re­gion res­i­dents to prove health ser­vices are needed.

The pe­ti­tion, launched by Alive Phar­macy Cal­liope, will soon be used to rally lo­cal, state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments to make leg­isla­tive changes to en­cour­age doc­tors to work and live in re­gional towns.

Alive Phar­macy Cal­liope re­tail man­ager, Clare Stone said the clo­sure, which fol­lowed the ser­vice’s on­go­ing is­sues to at­tract spe­cial­ists, had shocked Cal­liope res­i­dents.

“Peo­ple are ex­tremely wor­ried, a lot of them are not sure what to do,” Ms Stone said.

“There’s not even a bus ser­vice from here (to Glad­stone).”

The news has struck a chord in par­lia­ment al­ready, with Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd calling out a need for a cul­ture change as doc­tors con­tinue to seg­re­gate in and around cities.

Mr O’Dowd said he was work­ing with the Ru­ral Doc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion for po­ten­tial so­lu­tions.

“One op­tion we’re look­ing at is to have doc­tors trained lo­cally, and by that we re­tain their ser­vices ... or we could be heavy handed and reg­u­late that be­fore a doc­tor gets reg­is­tered he or she has to do a cer­tain time of ser­vice in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas,” Mr O’Dowd said.

The clo­sure sparked se­ri­ous con­cerns for the fu­ture vi­a­bil­ity of Alive Phar­macy Cal­liope, which is next door to the for­mer med­i­cal cen­tre.

But Ms Stone said as more peo­ple learned of the GP ser­vice clo­sure, sup­port for the phar­macy had grown.

“We had some­one from Glad­stone come out to Cal­liope just to sup­port us, we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated that,” she said.

The pe­ti­tion is avail­able to sign at the phar­macy and other ma­jor Cal­liope stores.

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