Shortage of doctors addressed

Communities on the Central Coast will find it easier to attract
doctors following the Australian Government’s announcement of
a new District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) system, according
to Member for Robertson Ms Lucy Wicks.

Ms Wicks confirmed the breakthrough at a roundtable with doctors and health professionals, held by Minister for Health the Hon. Sussan Ley. “We have listened to the concerns of rural doctors that the old DWS system was out of date and in desperate need of reform,” Ms Wicks said. “The DWS system had been an area of concern for GPs across the Central Coast for a number of years. “Updates to the way the Australian Government identifi es areas of doctor shortage will benefi t local communities by helping to better identify areas that genuinely need more doctors.” Twenty-six suburbs in the Robertson electorate are newly eligible under the system, including Avoca Beach, Bensville, Copacabana, Davistown, Empire Bay, Erina, Killcare, Kincumber, MacMasters Beach, Saratoga, Terrigal and Wagstaffe. “These changes mean that the most up to date data will be used to identify doctor shortage, which will make it easier to plan for and to recruit doctors,” Ms Wicks said. “Previous calculations were using data from 2004. “Importantly, the changes the Australian Government has just announced have been developed in close consultation with rural doctors. “These changes will help to deliver on the Government’s commitment to improve the health outcomes for rural, regional and remote Australians through better access to medical services.” Ms Wicks said that assessments would be done yearly, rather than every three months, which will give local communities greater certainty when planning health recruitment. “As part of the Coalition’s Growth Plan for the Central Coast, we pledged to look into the unique circumstances facing the Central Coast in attracting doctors,” Ms Wicks said. “We accepted that more needed to be done. “We’ve carefully considered the unique circumstances of the Coast, for the purposes of workforce incentives, and now we’ve acted.”

Media release,
18 Feb 2015
Tim Sowden, Offi ce of
Lucy Wicks MP