Summit to address rural medical specialist shortage

The challenge of getting more medical specialists into regional Australia will be the focus today of the first summit on this issue.


Around 50 representatives from the Commonwealth, states and territories, universities, medical specialist colleges and rural medical educators will meet today to discuss how to improve opportunities for rural specialist training, including more training in country areas.


“Having being born and then growing up in regional Victoria, I know first-hand what it is like to not have access to specialist medical professionals when you need it,” Minister McKenzie said.


Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie, said. “Dealing with acute or difficult medical conditions is tough at best but is compounded when you are forced to drive hours to the city to seek specialist treatment, frequently without family support.


“... this summit takes our commitment further by examining what we need to do to ensure medical specialists are able, willing and want to come out to regional communities to work.


“While Australia boasts a world class health system, we still face the issue of limited access to specialists for some people living in regional Australia.


“This is a challenge which can’t be solved by government alone, or the medical profession. We need a concentrated effort and close collaboration across governments and the sector to deliver long-term and sustainable change.


“I want to use this summit to gather all the ideas together from the experts so I can go back to COAG early next year with a comprehensive plan to start tackling the issue.


“In modern Australian society, regional communities and families should not feel like second-class citizens when it comes to accessing the best medical care possible.”


19 November 2018.