Over the past two years I have lost count of the amount of Fisher locals who have spoken to me about access to medical centres who still bulk bill.


But did you know that a significant issue for the medical industry and one that affects access to bulk billing across the Sunshine Coast is GP recruitment? Many practices struggle to source GPs and retain them.


I’m deeply concerned for the future of our local medical centres if they continue to struggle to find GPs to treat their patients.


There is a way that the Federal Government can begin to address these issues at their root: funding reform.


At the moment, regions are assessed to determine the level of access to GP services each year by identifying Distribution Priority Areas (DPAs).


DPA’s methodology considers:


  • Medicare billings by gender and age
  • The socio-economic status of patients living in an area
  • The remoteness of the area as classified by the Modified Monash Model geographical classification system, and here in Fisher it is this process which is outdated and needs to be re-visited.


To address our critical GP shortage, the Albanese Government needs to prioritise the Sunshine Coast as a GP shortage area. This would allow clinics to attract and retain qualified doctors, ensuring residents have access to timely and quality healthcare services. The Labor Government needs to acknowledge the severity of the situation and recognise the impact this is having on residents across the region.


I am urging the Government to work collaboratively with regional communities like ours so that health care providers and the Australian Medical Association can develop a comprehensive plan to address our GP shortage. This plan should thoroughly explore initiatives that encourage doctors to practice on the Sunshine Coast – including financial incentives, improved working conditions, and professional development opportunities.


Attracting medical professionals to our region will have a flow on effect for our community. Increasing our access to quality medical care – when we need it – should be an assumption, not a guessing game.


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