Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Health System Is Doing Poorly; AMA Qld President Speaks out on True State of Medical Services

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Health System Is Doing Poorly; AMA Qld President Speaks out on True State of Medical Services

Article excerpt

Janessa Ekert

janessa.ekert@dailymercury.com.au

AUSTRALIAN Medical Association (AMA) Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd talks about the issues our region faces. AMA Queensland has recently release its 2012 election priorities.

Tell me about the AMA election wish list and what you want to achieve?

The seven most troubled areas are a disengaged health workforce, a crippled public hospital system, an under-funded mental health system, an unplanned medical education program, a hospital system that's disengaged with general practitioners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. We want to be able to go along to the new government and say, okay, the election is over, here are the seven big problems that need to be fixed. AMA Queensland wants to work with you to try and fix these things.

What challenges do doctors in mining towns face? In mining towns at the moment we have seen an explosion of the workforce and a large part of that is the fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, who, the mining operators have been saying up until now, are not really putting any impact on the local communities, which is totally wrong. We've got evidence from studies like (those done by) the doctors at Moranbah (that show) that over a quarter of their work now is just looking after the FIFO miners. This needs to be recognised and addressed.

What is the impact of FIFO workers on medical staff in mining towns? This is a regional, rural workforce that is already very stretched because some of the worst workforce shortages are in those towns. What that means, in many cases this would be displacing local people from being able to see doctors and nurses.

How can medical services in mining towns be improved? We need to recruit and retain more doctors in those areas throughout the whole of regional and rural Queensland. …

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