DOCTOR PLAN: David Gillespie, Deb Frecklington, Cheryl Dalton and David Littleproud in Kingaroy on Wednesday.
DOCTOR PLAN: David Gillespie, Deb Frecklington, Cheryl Dalton and David Littleproud in Kingaroy on Wednesday. Katherine Morris

GP shortage is being addressed in South Burnett

KINGAROY'S access to general practictioners will be addressed as the South Burnett is officially classified as having a doctor shortage.

Federal Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie was in Kingaroy on Wednesday with Maranoa MP David Littleproud and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington.

He announced Kingaroy had gained a District Workforce Shortage status.

The government uses the DWS to distribute medical services across Australia, with a focus on ensuring adequate services are available in regional, rural and remote areas.

"The population to GP ratio in Kingaroy is now worse than the national average,” Dr Gillespie said.

"DWS classifications precisely identify where doctor shortages exist, which means the recruitment of new doctors to those areas can be better targeted.”

Mr Littleproud said the shortage had been a concern for some time.

"I'm relieved there's now a solution towards ensuring we can attract more doctors to the area,” he said.

Under current regulations some doctors, such as overseas trained doctors, foreign graduates of Australian medical schools and Australian-trained bonded doctors with return of service obligations, are restricted from providing services that attract a Medicare rebate unless they work in a DWS area.

Mrs Frecklington said Kingaroy Hospital's training partnership with Griffith University was a step in the right direction for getting GPs to come out to regional areas but if Kingaroy Hospital didn't have the facilities, young doctors wouldn't want to stay in the area.

"If we don't get the proper facilities then we're not going to attract these people to the region,” she said.

Dr Gillespie said there were plenty of Australian medical graduates, they just were not ending up in rural and regional areas because they trained in city centres.

He said the government was working on more initiatives to get young doctors into the regions.

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