Minister assesses doctor shortage
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.