Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hunt for Rural Docs Recruitment Shift Needed; Service Working Hard to Find Solution

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hunt for Rural Docs Recruitment Shift Needed; Service Working Hard to Find Solution

Article excerpt

Byline: Caitlan Charles caitlan.charles@newsregionalmedia.com.au

TWO doctors are needed in Clermont but an apparent lack of interest in the permanent positions has authorities rethinking their approach.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service is looking into a new operating model after struggling to replace two permanent medical staff at Clermont Multipurpose Health Centre.

In a letter sent to community members and posted on Facebook this month, it was explained that one "senior medical officer" had been reassigned in June 2018 and the other had taken extended leave from December 2018 and then been reassigned from April this year. Since then, the health service had been unable to attract new doctors.

MHHS chief executive Jo Whitehead said the health service had been working hard to attract permanent staff and find a long-term solution.

"In the short term, the Mackay HHS has engaged locum medical officers to provide medical services to both the MPHS and the general practice and will continue to do so," she said. "We are working with recruitment agencies to engage the same locum medical officers where possible, to ensure continuity of care for the residents of Clermont.

"THE health service is working closely with private partners to find a solution."

Ms Whitehead said the current model the health service used to attract doctors to regional areas was becoming increasingly difficult to recruit to. "It requires doctors to work in the hospital and privately in general practice," she said.

The letter sent to residents explained this well-established model used in many rural communities in Queensland was supported through the health service at the hospital, but usually through Queensland Health in general practice.

"The Mackay HHS is currently exploring alternative medical models in an attempt to recruit and retain doctors," Ms Whitehall said. …

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