Push for more rural doctors to be attracted to rural towns

DOCTORS are being stretched to breaking point in rural areas across the MIA with calls growing for more to be done to attract health professionals to the region. 

Last week there were two cases where the Leeton District Hospital didn’t have an on-call doctor covering the emergency department (ED). 

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association said this was placing extra burden on their staff at the hospital. 

Doctors in Leeton currently work on an on-call roster system to cover the ED and the instances of no one being available caused concern in the community. 

Member for Murray Austin Evans said it was unfortunate the hospital was not covered at all times last week.

“As I understand it, it’s a rostering issue … sometimes we have to expect these doctors aren’t available all of the time,” he said. 

“I think it’s a case of us doing more work to attract more health professionals to town and to the wider area. 

“It’s a tough situation at the moment. 

“Doctors, like everyone else, are seeking to find that work-life balance.

“We need to be making this a place they want to come to.”

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District was meeting with Leeton’s doctors on Monday to discuss last week’s gaps in the on-call roster. 

According to the MLHD there are currently Leeton has four general practitioners, supported by four registrars who are credentialed to cover the ED at the hospital. 

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A former health professional who worked in the region and didn’t wish to be named, agreed with the local member. 

“There aren’t enough doctors in the region … you have your registrars who complete their fellowships in our towns, but then they leave to go and work elsewhere,” the health professional said. 

“We need to work out a way to be keeping them here once they finish their training.

“It’s an extremely important issue.”