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Patients turned away

A SHORTAGE of doctors at Toora and Foster has forced the medical centres to turn patients away.

The two medical centres are currently experiencing a period of high demand for services, with a limited number of doctors and the centres are unable to accept new patients from outside the Foster and Toora areas, with the exception of maternity cases.

Practice manager Heather Byrne said the centres had lost three full time doctors in the past eight months.

“Dr Philip Worboys was involved in a serious accident in October last year and hasn’t been able to return to work,” she said.

“He still plans to return, but is many months away yet.”

Dr Wayne Shipley relocated to Queensland in December and just last week, Dr Karveh left the centres to work in Melbourne.

Ms Byrne said they now have a significant workforce shortage that is struggling to meet demand from the local community, leaving them unable to take on outside patients.

“We get a lot of people from outside the area phoning for appointments and while we sympathise with them, we just don’t have the capacity to accommodate them,” she said.

“We are actively recruiting, but it is challenging. It is not just a problem in Foster, it is a problem for all regional areas.”

The challenges facing rural practices are multi faceted.

“Doctors sometimes feel challenged by the expectations of a rural environment, which can be more complex than a city environment, with less access to specialists,” Ms Byrne said.

“Other challenges include the limited availability of doctors who are willing to work outside a metropolitan area and the distance to Melbourne.”

Ms Byrne said the Foster and Toora centres has a large group of experienced doctors who can support new staff, but even with that environment, recruitment is proving difficult.

“For people to relocate to a rural area like Foster or Toora, they have to start from scratch. The practice works hard to make new people welcome,” she said.

Ms Byrne said until the centre is successful in recruiting new staff, appointments will only be accessible by existing patients, people from within the Foster and Toora communities and maternity cases.

“It is certainly possible this could change, but it is unlikely in the foreseeable future,” she said.

Doctor shortage: Foster and Toora Medical Centres practice principal Dr Owen Casson and practice manager Heather Byrne are working hard to recruit new doctors to their practice, after losing three full time doctors over the past eight months.

Doctor shortage: Foster and Toora Medical Centres practice principal Dr Owen Casson and practice manager Heather Byrne are working hard to recruit new doctors to their practice, after losing three full time doctors over the past eight months.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=18626

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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