Wade hears GPs' woes

LOCAL PERSPECTIVE: Doctor John Williams meets with Health Minister Stephen Wade on Friday.

LOCAL PERSPECTIVE: Doctor John Williams meets with Health Minister Stephen Wade on Friday.

Doctors and residents from around Eyre Peninsula provided insight into some of the issues contributing to doctor shortages in the region when they met with state health minister Stephen Wade on Friday.

Mr Wade visited the region on Friday and Saturday, and said it was useful to meet with doctors on Eyre Peninsula about the day to day challenges they faced with consultation on the draft Rural Medical Workforce Plan underway.

He said the strongest theme from the meeting was the generational change in what doctors saw as "a viable healthy lifestyle".

"Gone are the days of being on call 365 days a year 24 hours a day," Mr Wade said.

Mr Wade said there were also issues with remuneration and concern about Medicare payments.

He said there was a lot of positivity about the Telehealth model linking patients to specialist advice but that it was patchy at times.

"For too long people (from regional SA) have been expected to go to Adelaide to get the health care they need," he said.

"That's just not fair."

Mr Wade said he applauded the commonwealth funding for a project officer to put together a health workforce strategy for the northern Eyre Peninsula.

The $300,000 commitment from the commonwealth was announced by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt last week during his visit to Kimba to meet with rural health professionals and local council.

Mr Wade said while the state government had no plans to add funding to that strategy, it was "always willing to help".

He said while each town had its own challenges it would be important that the plans being developed and health professionals worked together.

Earlier this year the state government provided $20,000 to the Kimba District Council so it could advertise for a doctor.

Tumby Bay doctor Graham Fleming, a rural GP for 40 years, began practicing part-time in Kimba last Wednesday.