A mum's desperate doctor search
A GYMPIE woman whose six-year-old son was stuck with a used needle in Nelson Reserve had resigned herself to taking him to the Sunshine Coast for follow-up doctor's appointments after being told she could not get in to see a Gympie doctor who bulk bills.
The single mother of five moved here from the Coast 12 months ago and has tried in vain ever since to get her young family, which includes two-year-old twins, in with a Gympie doctor who bulk bills.
Whenever the children have needed a doctor, she has had to pull them out of school to catch a train to the Sunshine Coast.
But salvation came yesterday in the shape of Member for Gympie David Gibson who achieved what the desperate mum could not: an appointment with the bulk-billing medical practice at Centro.
Gympie's bulk-billing doctor shortage is an issue that just won't go away thanks to a "formula" used by the Federal Government to calculate the city's doctor-to-patient ratio.
According to the formula, Gympie has plenty of bulk billing doctors.
Meanwhile, it's people like Tracy Jessop and her children who must suffer.
Ms Jessop moved here last July at the behest of the Department of Housing.
Already suffering from anxiety attacks for which she is on medication, Ms Jessop was turned away time and again, even with her sick children at her side.
All of the bulk-billing clinics were full and not taking new patients, she said.
Being on a limited income she could not afford to see a doctor who did not bulk bill.
"The (Gympie) hospital gave me a yellow sheet and I rang everyone on it," Ms Jessop said.
She had to pull the children out of school for the day and catch a train to the Sunshine Coast if they needed a doctor.
"I don't know what to do. I can't work out how to deal with this on my own," the teary mum said.
When young Aaron climbed up on the sink in the toilets at Nelson Reserve recently and got stuck with a used needle near the sharps container she took him straight to Gympie Hospital where he was treated and tested for diseases he may have picked up.
He required follow-up check-ups at three months and six months, and now Ms Jessop will not have to take him to the Coast to get those.