Your health care should not be determined by your postcode.
Here in Mallee, we are fortunate to have wonderful, skilled professionals who dedicate their working lives to providing excellent health care for our community. But they also experience great fatigue and strain due to workforce shortages.
These pressures go beyond COVID, despite the unprecedented burden of the pandemic.
Where there are staff shortages, there are also shortages in senior and experienced staff to train and mentor our junior health practitioners. And many senior health workers are close to retirement.
The key issue is the maldistribution of the workforce. Urban centres have three times more doctors per capita than regional areas.
This week I spoke with one junior doctor at Mildura Base Public Hospital, who after establishing herself in Mildura for three years, is now moving away to pursue her post-graduate ambitions in palliative care – simply because there aren’t opportunities in Mildura. She exemplifies the excellence, skill and care in healthcare that we need to preserve in Mallee.
We lose some of our best and brightest young doctors because we don’t yet have a streamlined undergraduate to post-graduate training program. This has been a focus of mine since stepping into parliament.
This week, I invited the Minister for Regional Health, the Hon. Dr David Gillespie, to meet with health leaders across Mallee and discuss this issue among other challenges of regional healthcare delivery.
I will continue to fight for end-to-end medical training for our students here in Regional Australia.
The Coalition Government have just announced HELP relief for doctors and nurse practitioners who stay to work in the bush. This incentive alone will make a difference, but there is more to do.
We need to use every tool in the toolbox to improve the regional health system.
LaTrobe and Monash universities are keen to work together with the hospitals and government to make end to end training here a reality. Implementing this will attract more highly skilled professionals to supervise and specialise in Mildura.
The endgame is a tristate tertiary training and hospital sector.
The people across our region deserve nothing less.