Check-up needed before doctor shortage hits us hard
IT DOESN'T take a medical expert to see things need to change for Maryborough's medical centres.
If the city's only fully bulk billing practice is forced to close its doors because it can't find doctors, that should be enough of a problem to prompt action.
That a nearby centre has spent 18 months without a doctor it desperately needs and has been forced to turn patients away is another strike.
The two medical centres mentioned on page 4 of Saturday's Chronicle are not alone.
Both Marcin Lazinski from Bazaar St and Rachel Hyne from Francis Family Doctors say at least two other centres are in similar positions.
What more evidence does the government need to see its policy is out of step with the reality on the ground?
Researching the convoluted mass of red tape that is the Distribution Priority Area system, it is clear to see there is no simple fix for the doctor shortage in Maryborough.
Perhaps, after a review, Maryborough will have its status changed, and what a welcome change it would be.
To the person living in Maryborough, dealing with multiple chronic health conditions, unable to drive and struggling to book an appointment or afford one where spots are available, though, this is dim hope indeed.
Mr Lazinski and Mrs Hyne are right - this is bureaucracy hurting the community's most vulnerable.
It's fine to say Maryborough has enough GPs according to a government standard.
When many of these GPs are too expensive for the residents of Maryborough, with its soaring rate of unemployment, however, the numbers don't add up.
As is often the case with policy problems, this is not a quick fix.
All we can hope at this stage is the Health Minister will genuinely listen to the people of Maryborough and free up more doctors for the Heritage City.