Media Release: Rural GP Shortage Crisis to be Addressed

12 Apr 2018 media release

In response to the Rural Doctors Association of SA yesterday calling for urgent action to address GP staffing shortages across rural South Australia, Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis says the Liberal health policies announced in the lead up to the election will help address this long-felt workforce crisis.  

“The dire need for improvements to regional healthcare was one of the driving forces behind my decision to contest the State election to represent the seat of Narungga in State Parliament”, Mr Ellis said.

“That hasn’t changed and providing sufficient health professionals to service our electorate is a vital part of that.”

“To that end the Liberal Party has developed a policy platform designed to increase the representation of rural GPs, registered midwives and other health professionals to provide vital services.

“A major policy announced pre-election was the commitment to invest $20 million directly into country health to fill skill gaps and attract specialists to help address the recognised ongoing medical staffing shortages in the regions.   

“Part of that commitment is delivering funding to assist teaching and training in country hospitals, as well as doubling the number of medical interns in regional SA.

“I was also able to secure commitments to restore surgical services at Yorketown and to provide $700,000 for Ardrossan Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Service.

“The Wallaroo Community forum I held last September attended by now Health Minister Stephen Wade to discuss the future of the NYP Health Service also highlighted more areas of concern, and Minister Wade and I have follow up talks scheduled at the Wallaroo Hospital for later this month.

“Access to reliable healthcare services and doctors and specialists to staff them is absolutely crucial and I will be fighting for outcomes throughout my time as the Member for Narungga.”

The $20 million State Liberal plan to address GP skills shortages includes:

  • Doubling the number of medical interns in the country;
  • Allocating teaching hospital funding to country LHNs to enable those LHNs to negotiate cooperative shared training arrangements with metropolitan LHNs;
  • Supporting recruitment and retention of resident specialists in country South Australia through the engagement of interns, registrars and medical officers with specialist skills;
  • Developing Registered Nurse/Midwife collaborative graduate programs in regional, rural and remote South Australia;
  • Encouraging rural and remote Registered Midwives to undertake training for dual registration;
  • Ensuring the Ambulance Service accommodates the changing employment and volunteering patterns in rural and regional areas, and
  • Strengthening Aboriginal Health Worker and Allied Health Professional Training opportunities across rural and remote South Australia.