A win for Nelson Bay Doctors and patients with DPA classification changes

Meryl Swanson MP, Dr Ola and Grace Fawehinmi are relieved by these changes. Photo: supplied.

 

MEDICAL Practices in the Nelson Bay area will now be able to recruit doctors easier after changes to priority area classifications.

Meryl Swanson, Federal Member for Paterson, has worked over the past twelve months to ensure that GP and doctor shortages in the area are not dismissed.

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“I have lobbied long and hard for this change, and I am pleased that practices will finally have access to a wider pool of doctors to increase their workforce.

“This will also come as a relief to patients, many of whom struggle to find a GP,” Ms Swanson said.

Twelve months ago, Ms Swanson met with the previous Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton and medical practices on the Tomaree Peninsula of Port Stephens to discuss the difficulties they were facing recruiting doctors.

Since then, she has also met with current Minister for Regional Health, David Gillespie, and made a submission to a Senate Inquiry into GP shortages.

Surgeries in Nelson Bay have been advised that changes will come into effect from 1 January 2022 for practices in areas deemed MM 3 and MM 4 that will give them automatic Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification.

“This means it will be easier for them to recruit doctors who have trained overseas or under Australia-trained bonded doctors with return of service obligations.

“This change has been a long time coming and this is a great start to relieving the pressure placed on practices who reach breaking point during the tourist season when they are inundated by visitors who need to see a doctor,” Ms Swanson said.

Although this change relieves many doctors and staff members who were leaving practices because of burn-out, Ms Swanson will continue working to support other regional communities who are facing the same issues.

“I am pleased to finally see the Morrison Government has recognised this problem and acted but the changes do not offer relief for doctors in other areas and I will continue to advocate for those practices and their patients,” Ms Swanson said.

 

By Tara CAMPBELL

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