Cooroora Family Practice at Pomona faces an uncertain future and could be closed, but the region's health support network says they do not believe the situation is at 'crisis' level.
Cooroora Family Practice at Pomona faces an uncertain future and could be closed, but the region's health support network says they do not believe the situation is at 'crisis' level. Alan Lander

Claims of Gympie GP 'crisis' overblown, health network says

CLAIMS the Gympie region's GP shortage is at crisis level have been refuted by the region's main health support network.

In the wake of media reports this month Gympie was struggling to attract doctors to the region, including a $200,000 job which has been vacant for years and the possible closure of Cooroora Family Health at Pomona, a Private Health Network Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast spokeswoman said it was a "complex and ongoing national issue”.

"This is not unique to any of the areas we support in CQ, WB and SC,” she said.

She said any claims PHN believed the situation to be "crisis” were inaccurate and the Department of Health was working to solve the problem.

A Department of Health spokesman said Gympie was been identified this year as a "priority area” for support under the Rural Health Workplace Support Activity.

Llew O'brien
MP Llew O'Brien. Troy Jegers

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said theproblem had a serious impact on communities.

"In relation to the practice at Pomona, my office has worked between the Health Minister's office, the Medicare compliance unit, and the practice to help the parties negotiate an outcome which keeps the practice open,” Mr O'Brien said.

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Gympie MP Tony Perrett said the region's health service was deteriorating.

"While much of this is an employment issue, and doctors cannot be compelled to practice here, this situation will clearly be putting a burden on our already stretched services at the Gympie Hospital,” Mr Perrett said.

POWER 30 - Gympie MP Tony Perrett.
MP Tony Perrett. Philippe Coquerand

"I advised the State Health Minister (Steven Miles) that in late April there were no doctors available on the Cooloola Coast to treat patients.

"There is only one surgery on the coast.

"Patients arrived at the surgery to a message advising them to either go to the Gympie Private Hospital, 50km away, or to attend the local pharmacy for treatment.

"Health care services is one of the most frequently raised issues in my office.”

Health Minister Steven Miles with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard outside Ipswich Hospital announcing a major expansion.
Health Minister Steven Miles.

Health Minister Steven Miles said Gympie's situation was shared by many rural areas and the Federal Government "simply cannot keep pressuring our hospitals to do more with less”.

"The Federal Government need to end all caps on bulk billing, stop cutting funding for primary healthcare, and ensure every community in Queensland has access to a GP,” Dr Miles said.