Tacking doctor shortage

Dr Leanne Beagley

Dr Leanne Beagley

A NEW group has been formed to help tackle a shortage of doctors in rural and regional areas.

The Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) and the Western Victorian Primary Health Network (PHN) have joined together to create a new health workforce working group.

Western Victorian Primary Health Network (PHN) CEO Dr Leanne Beagley said the group has representation from a range of stakeholders, including regional health services and universities.

“We currently have many dedicated health care professionals working across Western Victoria,” Dr Beagley said.

“However, we need more doctors and other health professionals, to not only practice in rural and remote areas, but to potentially settle into the community. Attracting doctors of rural and remote areas is both complex and challenging.”

Dr Beagley said the group had held its first meeting with south-west stakehoklders.

She said this allowed all parties to understand the scope of the problem.

“The group is looking into the difficulties in accessing potential GP trainees, supervision shortages across clinics and implementing streamlined pathways for GP recruitment,” she said.

“The working group will team up with local health providers over coming months to identify placement opportunities at local health clinics, as well as provide clear documentation on training pathways to GP fellowship.”

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has released a five-point plan to encourage more doctors to work in rural and remote locations. The AMA believes at least one-third of all new medical students should be from rural backgrounds.