Gympie GP warning should ring alarm bells at all govt levels
Letter to the Editor
Dr John Manton’s warning (Gympie Times, Tuesday, March 23, 2021) of a looming shortage of GPs in Gympie should ring alarm bells at all levels of government.
The statistics on Gympie’s population— the oldest, the poorest and the most unemployed in the Wide Bay Region — suggest that health services should be a major priority.
The challenge of providing adequate health services will only be exacerbated if Dr Manton’s predicted loss of up to seven local practising GPs eventuates.
And the problem is not mitigated by the arrival of significant numbers of retirees seeking a peaceful, semi-rural lifestyle combined with affordable housing. The proximity to the Sunshine Coast is an added attraction.
But, as Dr Manton points out, our closeness to the Sunshine Coast is something of a disadvantage when it comes to keeping GPs in Gympie. They often prefer to live at the coast and they eventually tire of driving to and from Gympie to work.
I believe that our proximity to the coast is also a disadvantage when it comes to the provision of specialist health services.
During the term of the previous council, Gympie lost its private hospital and the specialist services that were provided there. Sadly, there was not an audible murmur of resistance or assistance from council or state and federal governments.
Apparently, it is good enough for Gympie and its elderly residents that they have to travel to the Sunshine Coast for specialist treatment.
With its aged and ageing population, Gympie should have a specialist and geriatric hub to service not only Gympie but the many smaller towns in the surrounding region.
It is time to ramp up the pressure on all three levels of government to deal with what is a health service deficit that appears likely to deteriorate.
Merv Welch, The Palms
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