Harbour City Family Practice receptionist Helen Harbourne has had to turn away patients such as Betty Murray.
Harbour City Family Practice receptionist Helen Harbourne has had to turn away patients such as Betty Murray.

Doctors forced to turn patients away

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

General practices have been forced to turn away up to 30 people a day as a vicious bug makes its rounds in Gladstone.

The full waiting rooms and frustrated patients indicate a need for more doctors in the city, according to local doctors.

Harbour City Family Practice manager Law- rence Hosking said they were booked out for four days in advance and were forced to double-book doctors with an extra five or six patients a day.

Mr Hosking said the winter virus had hit schools hard and parents were ringing four or five different places to try to find an appointment.

Australian Medical Association Queensland spokesman and Windmill Medical Centre's Dr John Bird said the pressure on doctors from the winter virus again highlighted the faults in the system which would not define Gladstone as an area of workforce shortage.

'It's extreme,' Dr Bird said.

'I don't recall ever being booked out as a practice for four days ahead.

'That is in the context of the federal government saying this isn't a place of workforce shortage.

'There is a shortage of doctors in this town.'

Dr Bird said the system that determined which towns needed doctors was flawed and indicated that Beecher was an area of need but not Kin Kora.



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