Min­is­ter as­sesses doc­tor short­age

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Mallee An­drew Broad has wel­comed a visit by Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt to as­sess first-hand a short­age of health pro­fes­sion­als in the re­gion.

Mr Broad said Mr Hunt’s visit was nec­es­sary with a large per­cent­age of the Wim­mera-mallee with­out ad­e­quate al­lied health pro­fes­sion­als to look af­ter and pro­vide ser­vices for the com­mu­nity.

“It’s been fan­tas­tic to see the min­is­ter here in our patch to as­sess and dis­cuss the prob­lems we’re fac­ing and fig­ure out where we can go from here to see the best out­comes for our com­mu­ni­ties’ health,” he said.

“The min­is­ter and I have had the chance to catch up with some of our lo­cal work­force in­clud­ing doc­tors and prac­tice man­agers to re­ally dis­cuss how we can use our ca­pac­ity to help.”

A short­age of med­i­cal spe­cial­ists in the Wim­mera, gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers in par­tic­u­lar, has gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able de­bate in the re­gion dur­ing the past 12 months.

Clin­ics are hav­ing var­ied suc­cess in fill­ing some of the short­ages, with Wim­mera Health Care Group an­nounc­ing in Jan­uary that two new doc­tors would be avail­able for 12 months at Hor­sham’s Read Street Med­i­cal Clinic.

Lis­ter House Med­i­cal Clinic in Hor­sham has also se­cured three new doc­tors for the next 12 months.

But Mr Broad said there needed to be a com­pre­hen­sive ex­am­i­na­tion into find­ing long-term so­lu­tions to the doc­tor short­age.

“What we know is what has worked in the past does not work now, and we need ideas,” he said.

Mr Broad and Mr Hunt vis­ited re­gional hos­pi­tals and hosted a health fo­rum in Hor­sham to ‘max­imise dis­cus­sion with key stake­hold­ers’ through­out the Wim­mera and Mallee.

“Hav­ing the min­is­ter see and ex­pe­ri­ence first­hand the is­sues our re­gional com­mu­ni­ties are fac­ing is ex­actly what we need to shape the pol­icy re­quired for change,” Mr Broad said.

“I am look­ing for­ward to the out­come of the visit and dis­cus­sions of path­ways we can take from here.”

Mr Broad and Mr Hunt also joined forces to cer­e­mo­ni­ally turn the first sod for a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar Wim­mera Can­cer Cen­tre project in Hor­sham.

Mr Broad was a key lob­by­ist in con­vinc­ing former Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott to com­mit $1-mil­lion in Fed­eral Govern­ment fund­ing for the project, a move that gen­er­ated fur­ther sup­port.

The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser will pro­vide reg­u­lar up­dates on the build­ing progress of the can­cer cen­tre through­out the year.

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