Why Coast doctors are having to turn away patients
FOR Fraser Coast doctor Tosin Adeyemi there is "nothing worse" than having to turn patients away but she's among a growing number of GPs left with no choice.
Francis Family Doctors has all but closed its books as Maryborough's doctor shortage worsens.
Dr Adeyemi became a doctor to help people but the shortage, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and demand for testing, means it's impossible to meet the demand.
She said the practice has had to accommodate more patients where it can, but the more people treated, the less time there was to build a strong doctor-patient relationship with each person.
"We can only see so many at a time," Dr Adeyemi said.
Despite being able to accommodate four doctors, Francis Family Doctors currently hosts three and has had ongoing difficulties recruiting more.
Francis Family Doctors Practice Manager Rachel Hyne said Maryborough's status as a "non-Distribution Priority Area" meant it was extremely difficult to attract new doctors to the city.
"What we're experiencing, sometimes everyday, we're having patients contact our surgery, new patients, who've tried to get in at several practices to try and see a GP," she said.
"That's a really scary thing to hear happening.
"If we offer new patients an appointment, we are jeopardising our regular patients' appointments."
Ms Hyne said when patients couldn't see a GP, it meant not getting a referral for further medical treatment if needed.
She said the practice would like to see Maryborough classed as a DPA region to properly provide healthcare to the people of the city.