CENTRAL Victorians are facing a GP shortage.
But Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters is determined to tackle this deficit — before things get critical.
Meeting with local GPs recently, Ms Chesters discussed the shortage which she ascribed 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,’’ she said.
“Federal government is arguing we don’t have a problem, however local GP clinics are arguing 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 GPs 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.’’
Ms Chesters named the Medicare rebate freeze as another ‘‘policy failure’’ pushing 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,’’ she said.
“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.’’