Grey MP Rowan Ramsey responds to doctor shortage in his electorate

CRISIS: Grey MP Rowan Ramsey said the short supply of doctors was at it's worst in regional South Australia.

CRISIS: Grey MP Rowan Ramsey said the short supply of doctors was at it's worst in regional South Australia.

Grey MP Rowan Ramsey has responded to concerns of a doctor shortage in his electorate.

In a meeting it was tabled that while the number of general practitioners in Australia has grown at triple the rate of the population, the challenge is ensuring they are equally distributed between metropolitan and regional areas.

Mr Ramsey said the short supply of doctors was a problem across regional Australia, but it was worst in South Australia.

"It is an enormous problem. It is one thing to recognise it as a problem and it is another to fix it," he said.

"We are well aware of the problem and we are attacking on quite a number of fronts including putting in a specialist GP regime of setting up country training, but all these things take time.

"In the short term I don't think that money is really the issue.

"I think the problem is that we have got an imbalance with doctor supply.

"There is too many in the city and not enough in the country."

While overseas doctors have "saved our bacon", Mr Ramsey said that in the long run it just added to the over-population of doctors in the city.

"The imported doctors have been wonderful, but we can't keep importing doctors to add to the over supply of doctors in the city," he said.

"Now we are in a situation where we are training more Australian doctors than we need and it gets harder and harder to make the case that it is a skill set that is in short supply. It is just mal-distributed.

"It's more about where these people want to live than where the work is.

"They are making personal choices and because we make the Medicare subsidy available everywhere to qualify doctors, they are quite happy to live on what they can make in the city and they don't want to come and help us out in the country.

"We have actually got to address the problem at it's nub, which is why we are trying to equip more young doctors to have the skills to work in the country.

"It can be a much more rewarding job in the country because they can put into practice the things they were taught."

Dr Abdul Kajani has been vocal about the issue and said regional doctors were being overworked to provide patient care.

Mr Ramsey said: "I agree with him entirely and he is not on his own. I can take him to any number of doctors around in regional areas doing the same thing and it's not good enough.

"I will keep pushing for the changes that I think are appropriate.

At this stage we are trying to increase supply and not redistribute and I think that is something we need to get on to."


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