Gladstone practice welcomes doctor
By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
GLADSTONE medical practices are facing a "bureaucratic brick wall'' when it comes to employing doctors for the region.
It has taken 18 months of hard labour by staff at the Gladstone Central Medical Centre to secure a new doctor.
But they persevered and Dr Kulasingham Kularadhan (Dr Kula) officially started work this week.
Practice manager Sue Shaw said they had been working since 2004 to process all the various legislative and medical requirements to have Dr Kula placed at the surgery.
'It has been a nightmare of paperwork,' Mrs Shaw said.
'Gladstone is not registered as an area of need and so we had to apply for an exemption at both state and federal levels to be able to employ an over-seas-trained doctor in the practice,' Mrs Shaw said.
She said they had to call on the help of federal member Paul Neville to help them negotiate their way through the paperwork.
'We extensively advertised the position for close on two years throughout the state and country but received no response,' she said.
AMA Gladstone branch spokesman Dr John Bird said the situation was becoming critical.
'We are reliant on overseas doctors to make up the numbers,' he said.
'We recently applied for a doctor to service the Calliope and Mt Larcom regions and have encountered a bureaucratic brick wall.'
Meanwhile, about 300 doctors have been given registration to work in Queensland in an urgent attempt to ease a critical doctor shortage in the state's hospitals.
The shortage is expected to hit when public hospital contracts end next week.
The Queensland branch of the AMA is calling on the state government to offer enough money to retain much-needed senior doctors.