Thursday, March 10, 2005

Govt urged to do more to address rural doctor shortage

A key remote area health group has raised concerns over what it calls a lull in government efforts to address a critical shortage of health professional in remote areas.

Dr Gordon Gregory from the National Rural Health Alliance says the crisis of finding and retaining health professionals continues to be one of the biggest issues facing remote communities.

He says this is being increasingly felt in obstetric care where remote areas are losing the capacity for birthing.

Dr Gregory says women are being forced to travel long distances at great risk.

"Maybe it's possible that the birthing in the bush crisis, if we can call it that, is kind of systematic of a problem we've got with remote and rural health and that is that people are burning out, that agencies are not doing enough," he said.

"I mean governments and community groups are not doing enough jointly to get on top of this."

The issue is set to be raised at a conference involving more than 1,000 health professionals in Alice Springs over the next three days.

By Medicare 10 March 05