Leaders consult on doctor shortage

Leaders consult on doctor shortage

There is no “silver bullet” to solve a doctor shortage in Millicent according to past health administrator David Walshaw.

He is a former Millicent Hospital chief executive and South East Health Service regional director and gave his opinions as a Corcoran ward representative at Wattle Range Council’s February meeting.

There are only five doctors consulting in Millicent and Cr Walshaw said it was a difficult issue.

“When I arrived in Millicent in 2000, there were 14 GPs, visiting surgeons and a range of sub-specialties,” Cr Walshaw said.

He pointed out there were GPs available to come to the South East and said a Mount Gambier clinic had just recruited three such doctors.

During his time as a health administrator, Cr Walshaw had suggested the health services recruit experienced defence force paramedics to assist with the staffing of hospital emergency departments.

“The Medical Clinic Millicent was shut on Saturday, February 10 and so there were no pathology services available,” Cr Walshaw said.

“The clinic doctors should continue to visit Beachport.

“We need a long-term solution.”

Cr Walshaw will join Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll and chief executive Ben Gower in a delegation to the Medical Clinic Millicent.

“We will speak to the clinic partners and see what we as a council can do to help,” Mayor Noll said.

He had used his monthly mayoral report to reprint a social media statement from clinic partner Dr James Bushell about the lack of GPs.

Cr Richard Cassidy reported on his first meeting as a council representative on the Millicent Health Advisory Council.

He said Dr Bushell’s statement showed the situation was dire.

“Nothing is happening from the Federal and State Governments,” Cr Cassidy said

“It is quite critical we do something ourselves.”

Cr John Drew is a former Millicent Hospital and SE Regional Health Service chairman and said the Penola Medical Support Group had worked well.

According to Cr Dale Price, Millicent Hospital was no longer a teaching hospital and this was a deterrent to the recruitment of GPs.

Mr Gower said he would speak to Member for MacKillop Nick McBride about accommodation options for GPs-in-training.

He said Wattle Range Council’s the last three trainee planners who had subsequently joined its workforce as qualified staff.

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