Doctors meet with politicians
DOCTOR shortages, after hours care, classifications for areas of need and the red tape surrounding foreign-trained doctors were the topics raised by local GP’s with Federal Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton.
Mr Dutton and Dawson MP George Christensen visited Cannonvale’s 121 Medical Centre on Monday afternoon, where they met with Dr’s Yehia El Baky, Ali Solgi, Shiva Beiki and Proserpine’s Dr Paul Joice.
Dr El Baky told the politicians that in 18 months of advertising for a GP, not one Australian-trained doctor had applied for the position. Meanwhile, Dr Solgi’s wife, Dr Shiva Beiki, a fully trained, but foreign doctor, had not been able to join the practice due to red tape. “I think this is a bureaucratic nightmare, both for local families who are trying to get in to see a GP and also for the Solgi’s,” Mr Dutton said, on hearing their story.
Mr Dutton claims the problem lies with the Federal Labor Government and he accuses Health Minister Tanya Plibersek of stonewalling the Whitsunday community.
“I call on Minister Plibersek to come out from behind her desk in Canberra and to listen to the local residents of the Whitsunday community who desperately need more doctors [and] to take a personal interest in this matter and to get it resolved,” he said.
A spokesman for Tanya Plibersek said it was odd that Mr Dutton would be calling for more doctors in the Whitsundays “when his only policy is to scrap Medicare Locals which employ frontline health workers including doctors”. “A number of incentives were introduced in July 2010 under the Rural Health Workforce Strategy to encourage and support doctors who move to and remain in rural areas. Since that time, there has been a significant increase in the number of doctors working in rural areas, where doctors receive incentives of up to $30,000 to relocate and an annual retention payment of up to $18,000 from the Government,” the spokesperson said.
VOICING CONCERNS: Dr's Yehia El Baky (far left), Shiva Beiki, Ali Solgi and Paul Joice (centre), spoke with Federal shadow health minister Peter Dutton (centre left) and Dawson MP George Christensen (far right) about doctor shortages in the Whitsundays.