Doctor shortages in my electorate of Mallee are now at crisis point. On Thursday 18 August, just two weeks ago, the Tristar medical practice in Mildura was open. But by Friday morning its doors were closed—locked by an administrator—leaving 15,200 people without a doctor. Without notice, people have been left without scripts, without an ability to get test results and no phone number to call. The administrator gave one week for people to access medical records if they found a new GP. Of course, there was no possibility of this as no GP clinic in Mildura has capacity for new patients. Patients were still showing up for their appointments at Tristar the following week and were informed by a piece of paper stuck on the door that they now had no doctor.
Almost all GP clinics in Mildura have closed their books, such is the desperate situation we face. Existing patients face an average appointment wait of four weeks. In regional communities, the primary health care shortages are turning preventative health issues into emergencies. Our already crippled EDs are being put under further substantial strain. This situation is untenable. I am calling on the government to urgently implement solutions to address this crisis.