Doc­tors meet with politi­cians

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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