Change gives Gladstone more chance of getting doctors

GLADSTONE'S health system will have more chance of attracting new doctors after changes to a Federal Government scheme announced last week.

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said Gladstone now would be listed as a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS).

Gladstone Hospital has since recruited a full-time surgeon to replace a locum doctor, as part of the scheme.

An area is classified as a DWS when the ratio of health care professionals does not match the population.

Mr O'Dowd said it was great news.

"We've been trying to get relief for Gladstone's health care system for some time. Gladstone does deserve the opportunity to be a part of the scheme," he said.

Gladstone's DWS status will also allow health care professionals in the region access to overseas-trained doctors.

While parts of the Gladstone region, including Curtis Island, had previously been considered under the DWS scheme, the city centre was not.

Last month Gladstone GP Super Clinic director Dr John Bird said this was because Gladstone had a shortage of specialist doctors, not GPs.

"That situation means that we often have to cover for the work of specialists, adding to the problem of the shortage of GPs, which the government has deemed not to be a particular concern," Dr Bird said.

At the time Dr Bird feared that the ABS data used in the DWS scheme did not reflect Gladstone's growing fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) population.

What is a DWS?

  • A District of Workforce Shortage is classified as an area that does not meet the health care needs of the population.
  • DWS areas don't have the health care facilities to match the population.