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'The voices of regional doctors are not being heard': AMAQ

The AMAQ says rural areas tend to be medically underserviced and one doctor towns are common.
The AMAQ says rural areas tend to be medically underserviced and one doctor towns are common.

THE state's most powerful doctors' group is calling on all political parties to agree to appoint an assistant health minister to focus on chronic understaffing in the bush.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland will today release its list of election demands, the centrepiece of which is the creation of an assistant health minister to stamp out one-doctor towns in the regions.

The AMAQ's plan, seen by The Courier-Mail, said the state was need of someone who understood life in the bush because the sustainability of the medical workforce in rural towns was "under threat".

The document said it was "a political reality in Queensland that a Health Minister is almost certainly likely to come from South East Queensland (SEQ)" and an assistant health minister should be appointed whose "primary task" would be to act as a rural health champion.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young and current Health Minister Cameron Dick. Picture: Annette Dew
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young and current Health Minister Cameron Dick. Picture: Annette Dew

Both contenders for the health minister job, incumbent Cameron Dick and the LNP's John-Paul Langbroek, are running for city seats and the AMAQ's plan said of the past 10 health ministers, only three were based outside SEQ.

AMAQ president Bill Boyd said rural areas tended to be medically underserviced and one doctor towns were common, citing Glenden, Dysart, Tieri and Middlemount as examples.

"Often these doctors are looking after, per head, far more people than their city counterparts, they have got a much bigger workload, they don't have relief," he said.

The AMAQ also wants a new stand-alone chief medical officer (CMO) to help improve the "culture" of Queensland Health, similar to the roles of chief nursing officer and allied health officer.

Currently, Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young holds the additional title of CMO, but the AMAQ urges this position should not be a "sub-portfolio".

The Five Point Plan for Better Health also calls for additional funding for palliative care services, mandatory reporting law reform, retention of tough new liquor laws introduced last year by the Palaszczuk Government, and better access to paediatric and obstetric care.

Topics:  amaq health qldelection2017 regional rural


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