Emerald doctor advocates bolstered rural services
THE president of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine says rural doctors should be recognised for their role in managing the coronavirus this year.
Dr Ewen McPhee, who works at the Emerald Medical Group, said that rural GPs were especially committed to learning the skills needed to provide health care for families living in relative isolation.
"They have been instrumental in preparing local clinics and hospitals for the COVID-19 pandemic and educating and supporting their patients to take necessary precautions to minimise the spread of the disease," Dr McPhee said.
"The reason they have been so responsive, is because they have the ability to utilise advanced skills in a range of areas including emergency care, mental health, indigenous health, obstetrics and anaesthetics."
Dr McPhee said that on Tuesday, May 15 - World Family Doctor Day - it should be emphasised that those living rurally need the same access to care as their urban counterparts.
He said that in many regional areas, there was a shortage of specialist services, and to better support the regions, there should be a greater incentive for doctors to move out and work in them.
"There is a real need to reinvigorate interest in general practice and address the current maldistribution of the GP workforce so that doctors are motivated and supported to work in regional, rural and remote communities where they are needed," Dr McPhee said.
Commitments to bolster and invest in rural medical services, included in last year's Federal Government budget, were a good start to reinforcing the industry, he said.
"This will encourage doctors to pursue a career in rural health and will go a long way to ensuring families living outside the city and urban areas are not left behind when it comes to access to high quality medical care."