Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Tom Huntley

Doctor willing to help Mt Morgan community but govt says no

MEMBER for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has raised concerns in parliament about a doctor shortage at Mt Morgan.

Mr O'Dowd said the town had one doctor at its hospital, and one in a private clinic.

But obtaining doctors in the country town was an ongoing problem.

He said his main concern was the problems confronting the CQ Family Practice which was trying to employ a second doctor with a Medicare provider number to alleviate pressure on the local health network.

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Mr O'Dowd said there had always been two doctors with Medicare provider numbers, until one doctor died recently.

The CQ Family Practice had found an overseas trained doctor willing to work in the town, but was having trouble getting a Medicare provider number.

Mr O'Dowd called on the Health Minister to look into Mt Morgan's situation, as it also serviced Bouldercombe, Dululu and Wowan.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Tanya Plibersek told the Morning Bulletin overseas trained GPs were restricted from billing Medicare unless they worked in an area of workforce shortage, and Mt Morgan was not considered one of those areas.

"This means that Mt Morgan has more access to medical services than the national average based on Medicare billing statistics," the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, the Department of Health and Ageing could consider the special circumstances of an area where a practitioner who had died, needed to be replaced.

But the GP practice hadn't approached the department to discuss the option, the spokesperson said.

CQ Medicare Local chief executive officer Jean McRuvie said while Mt Morgan wasn't listed as a workforce shortage area, the organisation would strongly support the town being re-listed as this was the only way it could attract another GP.