National

Healthcare cuts put rural Qld at risk

By AAP Newswire

Hundreds of Queensland doctors say the state's shrinking rural maternity services are "extremely dangerous" for communities, some labelling the situation "catastrophic".

They've called on the Palaszczuk government and opposition to set out their plans for regional healthcare ahead of October's state election.

Rural women are finding it tough to access doctors during pregnancy or childbirth, the Australian Medical Association of Queensland says.

"They have to travel away from their home town if they need or want the services of a doctor," spokesman Marco Giuseppin said in a statement on Sunday.

Dr Giuseppin said the departure of obstetricians from rural and regional areas would lead to hospital theatres shutting because of the drop in births.

"Then anaesthetists and other specialists leave town because they don't have the resources needed to do their jobs," he said.

"It makes it necessary for everyone - not just expectant mothers - to travel elsewhere to receive healthcare."

An AMA poll of 700 Queensland doctors found two thirds believe cuts to regional maternity services were "extremely dangerous" or "catastrophic" and had a damaging flow-on.

The survey also found 38 per cent of doctors had little or no faith in the public health system, saying it needs better leadership and more funding.

Another 45 per cent claim services have diminished in the past decade.

Dr Giuseppin said the state election was a chance for all politicians to demonstrate commitment to regional communities.

"We want the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the opposition leader to set out clear, well-funded plans for healthcare across the state so voters can make an informed choice at the ballot box," he said.