Migration policy a hurdle for doctors

Narrogin Observer
Opposition leader Liza Harvey fronts the media at Parliament House this morning.
Camera IconOpposition leader Liza Harvey fronts the media at Parliament House this morning. Credit: Daniel Wilkins

Opposition Leader Liza Harvey says the McGowan Government’s “anti-migration stance” is exacerbating the rural doctor shortage.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Roger Cook said there was no quick fix to the doctor shortage, an issue he had raised with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“Canberra must act on the shortage of GPs in regional WA,” Mr Cook said.

“It’s not simply a quick fix of more money or better housing, a range of different policy settings — all controlled by the Federal Government — need to be reviewed.

“These include visa restrictions on overseas trained doctors, settings for district priority areas and enabling regional GPs to access Medicare rebates for Telehealth.”

But Ms Harvey criticised the State Government for handballing responsibility.

“To just take your hands off the wheel and say ‘it’s not our problem, it’s the Federal Government’s problem’, is just irresponsible.”

She said making it easer for doctors to come to Australia should be a key focus.

“We need GPs in rural WA. If that means we need to take them from other countries, to come in and work in regional areas from three to five years, then that’s what we need to do,” Ms Harvey said.

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