'Glaring anomaly': Senator hits out over GP rule change
A QUEENSLAND senator is "alarmed" by the removal of Gladstone and Tannum Sands from the Distribution Priority Areas for general practitioners.
Senator Anthony Chisholm has written to Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton asking for the decision to be reviewed.
From July 1, Gladstone practices hiring doctors have been limited to Australians who have passed their Australian GP exam or doctors who have worked in Australia for 10 years.
Senator Chisholm acknowledged the new system was intended to improve identification of under-serviced areas.
"I believe Gladstone and Tannum Sands is a glaring anomaly in the new system," the Labor senator said. "I am alarmed that removing the priority status will make it even more difficult for these communities to attract an adequate number of doctors to meet current health needs, yet alone health needs into the future."
Mr Coulton said the $550 million Stronger Rural Health strategy aimed to deliver thousands more doctors to rural and regional areas.
"The new Distribution Priority Area classifications means that medical practitioners will be placed in communities of greatest need," he said.