Central Victoria facing a new GP shortage because of Government failures

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP is today meeting with local GP’s to discuss the GP shortage that Central Victorians are facing due to numerous Liberal Federal Government policy failures.

“This Government has reclassified Bendigo to not be on the District Workforce Shortage list. If Bendigo was on the list local health providers could hire overseas trained doctors who are willing to work in Bendigo and not in the big cities.

“Federal Government is arguing that we don’t have a problem however local GP clinics are arguing that the number of GPs that are registered to the Bendigo region does not accurately reflect the actual physical doctors who work in Bendigo on a regular basis.

“Local GP’s are being pushed to their limits to service the community but by overworking themselves they are subsequently putting patients’ care at risk. We simply need more doctors to cover the patient loads

“To address the shortage over the long term the Government must increase the number locally trained doctors. 

“Another Federal Government policy failure is the Medicare rebate freeze that has forced GP clinics to increase fees.

“Less and less clinics in the electorate are bulk billing and families are facing long wait times or are going without treatment because they simply cannot afford to see a GP.

“One of the key findings from the Save Medicare report I released in March was of the 23 clinics surveyed in Bendigo only four bulk bill. This is unacceptable,” said Ms Chesters.

Healthworks practices are some of the only bulk billing practices left in Bendigo. Healthworks CEO Alan Hall has said it’s become extremely difficult to entice newly trained doctors to his practices in Bendigo as many do not want to leave the big cities.

“We need to be able to bring in trained Doctors from overseas who are willing to set up their roots in Central Victoria and take over the increasing caseloads.

“We do have a shortage of Doctors in Bendigo, some of our Doctors are working 7 days a week to keep up with demand but this is damaging the quality of medicine that is being provided.

“Aging practitioners are also a big factor and we need an urgent plan in place to ensure we have successors ready to cover their current caseloads, said Mr Hall.

Ms Chesters said the Federal Liberal Government needs to urgently reform their policy mistakes that continue to hurt Central Victorians.

“We are calling on the Federal Liberal Government to reclassify the Bendigo Electorate under the District Workforce Shortage, increase the number of local trained Australian doctors and increase GP Medicare rebates,” said Ms Chesters.