Decision means fewer doctors, more pressure on hospitals

HEALTH Minister Mark Coulton said the new divisions were based on the socio-economic needs of each area.

Ipswich's position is unique because of its semi-rural surrounds. Some areas such as Laidley will become DPA areas, while Rosewood lost its status.

"The new DPA system takes into consideration the GP services an area receives, demographics and the socio-economic factors of patients rather than the simple GP-to-population ratio used to determine DWS," Mr Coulton said.

"This change ensures a better supported health workforce that can meet emerging community needs."

Mr Coulton's new scheme does not account for booming population and a lower socio-economic status, coupled with a series of chronic health problems, according to Blair MP Shayne Neumann.

"The challenge we have going forward is the explosion in Ipswich and its surrounding population," he said.

"It'll mean fewer doctors and poorer health outcomes. There will be more pressure on the emergency department at the Ipswich Hospital.

"What we need is better primary health outcomes, we already have challenges in chronic obesity, diabetes, heart disease and asthma."

Mr Neumann referred to studies by the Primary Health Network stating the area is in "acute" need of more doctors.

"What we need is an exemption, from Karana Downs and the lower Somerset, and all of Ipswich," he said.

"If we are exempt, we will have access to better primary health care and more doctors, and therefore better health outcomes."

Mr Coulton said the Department of Health would consider applications for exemptions for areas that were formerly under the DWS scheme.

"Because DPA utilises GP catchments, there are also some locations in Blair which will no longer be eligible for restricted doctors, such as Rosewood," he said.

"Doctors who are already working in Rosewood will be able to remain practising in the area and practices currently negotiating employment with restricted doctors do not need to cease discussions as a result of this change.

"The Department of Health will still consider applications from practices that were in a DWS area prior to the change."


Doctors in Ipswich's busiest centre are clamouring for more GPs. Contributed


EVEN doctors in Ipswich's busiest hub are clamouring for more GPs to reduce the stress on an already stretched Ipswich Hospital.

Riverlink Family Practice run by Dr Mahesswaree Nina Unuth and Dr Frederick Kalu have reported difficulties attracting GPs due to their non-DWS status under the previous classification.

The seven-day-a-week operation has five doctors on staff but can take seven more.

As it stands the practice has been "aggressively" advertising for new doctors for more than a year without success, due to the classification.

"We are having to refuse many patients on a daily basis due to the fact we are already overbooked," Dr Unuth wrote in a letter to Federal Minister for Health Mark Coulton.

They have formally requested support to change Ipswich's classification to permit doctors into the region easily.