GPs risk burnout amid high emergency demand

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Wagin Shire president Phillip Blight.
Camera IconWagin Shire president Phillip Blight. Credit: Sunday Times, Michael Wilson

Wagin Shire president Phillip Blight says the burnout of doctors is a big concern, as local governments invest time and money trying to retain their services.

Mr Blight said the Shire had invested a significant amount of rates and effort in keeping their current GP, but with the growing demand for doctors, there was a high risk of burnout.

“We believe it’s absolutely imperative that our community has a resident doctor, so we’ve had to step up as a result of a failure of provision by Federal and State Government,” he said.

“Our doctor has some great street credit in this area and we’re very fortunate to have him — he is the reigning Rural GP of the Year.

“However, our biggest concern at the moment is the burnout factor, because we’ve had doctors come to us and burn out in about six weeks.”

Mr Blight said the local GP had also recently been engaged to work at the Narrogin Emergency Department for two weekends a month.

“It has significantly added to the possibility of burnout,” he said.

“Our fear is finding a pathway to have a doctor but not burn them out.

“We’ve been to the Health Department suggesting that they need to think about a succession plan and got a very blank look.”

Mr Blight said getting an extra GP for the shires of Wagin and Narrogin to share could be a solution. Nationals WA leader Mia Davies said it was not fair that local governments had to take matters into their own hands.

“The local government is the closest to their community and so they’re the ones that feel the brunt,” she said.

“So they end up spending ratepayer dollars because the community expects it.

“Talking to some of the local governments about the amount that they spend on attracting and retaining doctors and health professionals is eye-opening for people that have come from the metropolitan area and that operate in that area regularly.

“Most of my colleagues here in the Parliament from a metropolitan base — it just wouldn’t even occur to them to think that their local governments had to do that.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails