Local doctors need support says GP

NEWS of the proposed super clinic has both general practitioners and residents concerned about the shortage of doctors and the extra strain on the health system.

Local GP Michael Harding said there was already an existing doctor shortage in the Clarence Valley and he was not convinced that the super clinic would support the facilities that are in demand.

“It would have been better if the government had supported the practices already established in Grafton that already provide after-hours services, nursing homes services and who are on call on weekends,” he said.

“The great need is for allied health professionals, including speech therapists, occupational health therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and dieticians.”

Director of Ochre Health Foundation, Peter Bayley, said the company intended to gradually increase the number of doctors in the Valley by up to eight.

“Grafton currently has a shortage of general practitioners and its GP workforce is aging,” he said.

In a letter to the editor, Mr Bayley said the Valley had fewer general practitioners per head of population than the national average.

“The North Coast Area Health Service recently reported that Grafton has one GP per 1669 head of population compared to the national average of one GP per 1291 head of population.”

“Our company expertise is in recruiting doctors in rural and remote locations and we have recruited to towns that we expect are tougher to attract to than Grafton,” he said.

If the super clinic gets councillors’ approval, Mr Bayley said, the clinic will facilitate numerous allied health professionals to accommodate for the Valley’s needs.

He said the GP Super Clinic services will include general practice, practice nursing, pharmacy, pathology, physiotherapy, speech pathology, audiometry, psychology and other allied health services.

Rooms will also be available for visiting specialists and other health professionals.

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