Australian General Practitioners Seeking Support: Need to Address Workforce Shortage

Shutterstock 430087837 Sml   News Update

​The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the decision of Dr. Mary Lumsden, a general practitioner from Bothwell Doctors to take on more patients from the Southern and Central Highlands.

However, this decision requires more support for Australian GPs, especially for rural practitioners. Way back in April 2022, a practice in Ouse, Tasmania, closed, and this caused the community to be left without a general practitioner.

According to RACGP President Karen Price, this expansion of services can fill the gap and help more people in the local area, especially those patients with multiple, complex conditions that need to be carefully monitored by a regular general practitioner.

Aside from workforce support, financial support such as increased Medicare benefits is also needed by general practitioners. Doing this will not only reduce GP fatigue but will also provide general practice sustainability.

As stated by RACGP Tasmania Chair Dr. Tim Jackson, this decision will allow patients in the Southern and Central Highlands to now have a GP to turn to. For better support, the GPs are requesting a 10% increase in Medicare rebates.

The Government is Urged to Support GPs and Services in Times of Disaster

Governments are being urged by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to give immediate assistance to vital healthcare services in Lismore and neighbouring communities that are still battling to recover from devastating floods.

According to RACGP NSW Chair Dr. Charlotte Hespe, the recovery from the recent floods has been slow and difficult for community members and challenging healthcare services, many of which had no flood insurance because it is unavailable or unaffordable.

Additionally, if vital healthcare services are forced to close because they cannot get the assistance they need, this will have a significant impact on the people who need them not only in terms of their physical health but also in terms of their emotional health.

The flood disaster continues to have a severe negative impact on the mental health of residents in Lismore and the surrounding areas. Individuals' mental health and wellness will suffer if they lose the local GPs who are offering ongoing counselling and assistance as well as referrals to other specialists when people need them.

What the Government can do is acknowledge the gravity of the situation and provide the necessary grant money to the healthcare services right away because the enduring health and welfare of communities across Australia depend critically on sustainable healthcare services.

Milestone Contract to Deliver GP Training in Australia

From February 1st, 2023, the RACGP will deliver GP Training in the country. This is a contract signed by the federal Health Department which is considered the largest contract for medical vocational training ever signed by an Australian government.

According to RACGP President Karen Price, this milestone will provide a stronger GP education in the country for future GPs who wish to deliver a high-quality medical service in the country, especially during this time of the pandemic and alongside increasing health issues associated with aging, chronic disease, and mental health crisis.

RACGP: Addressing the States’ Healthcare Workforce Crisis

The RACGP is set to schedule a meeting with local GPs and health stakeholders to address the country’s healthcare workforce crisis.

On September 11, the RACGP Rural Chair Dr. Michael Clements, the WA Chair Dr. Ramya Raman, and the National Rural Clinical Lead Dr. Karin Jodlowski-Tan will travel to Busselton before continuing on to Bunbury, Collie, Katanning, and Narrogin to meet with doctors of general practice and other important health stakeholders.

The tour will come to a close on September 14, in Perth, where the participants will meet with the WA Country Health Service and attend a gathering for area general practitioners.

According to RACGP WA Chair Dr. Ramya Rama, health funding is what should be addressed most, especially during this Covid-19 surge and increasing winter respiratory virus. Health funding will also offer preventative care to the community.


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