There is no doubt regional areas are at a disadvantage when it comes to many health services.
Port Lincoln is a lot better placed than some of the smaller centres elsewhere on Eyre Peninsula when it comes to the availability of services but as anyone who has had to deal with more serious health issues can attest the city is not without its problems.
While solving many of these problems requires more money and resources than are likely to be made available, other measures to improve patient outcomes seem much more achievable – with a bit of lateral thinking and vocal lobbying.
Hopefully Port Lincoln’s new GP action group can be that voice.
A united voice from the experts who deal with these barriers and challenges on a daily basis is a great start in getting the services regional areas need.
The Port Lincoln Times regularly hears from patients who are frustrated about various aspects of health services that make people’s lives more difficult, from lack of visiting specialists to the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme.
These people also represent the many more people we do not hear from.
However it can be hard for individual community members – who are often still dealing with their own health problems at the same time – to lobby loud enough to be heard and effect real change.
They also do not always have the wider knowledge or context to give them credibility in the eyes of decision-makers.
However our local GPs at the ‘coal face’ of the health system are perfectly placed to present a united voice on local health issues they believe can be solved to improve outcomes for regional patients.
As local GP Dr John Williams has highlighted in today’s Port Lincoln Times, there are solutions out there to solve problems like lack of availability of healthcare specialists, they just have not been a priority – yet.
If this group is successful in its mission, it is not only Port Lincoln that will benefit.
Other regional centres across the state facing similar challenges could also reap the rewards of better outcomes for their local patients.
Yes we choose to live in a regional area and yes, we are aware there will not be the same services available to us as there would be if we lived in a capital city centre but that is no reason not to continue to fight for better services.