Nationals host health forum in Katanning

Published: Wednesday, 10 July 2019 at 9:40:43 AM

The Nationals WA hosted a Health Forum in Katanning on 2 July to get a better understanding of issues facing the town and wider region.

Leader Mia Davies and Health spokesperson Martin Aldridge were at the forum to hear firsthand the concerns of health professionals, stakeholders and the Katanning community.
Local MP Peter Rundle said the forum was a resounding success and The Nationals were committed to tackling the issues raised.

“There are currently 15 GP vacancies across the Great Southern region, including five in Katanning and one in Kojonup,” Mr Rundle said.

“At the forum we heard how the shortage of GPs in Katanning was making life hard for staff at the local hospital, particularly at night and on weekends when there can sometimes be no doctor available to see patients.

“This is having an impact on the community’s confidence in the local health service as people are unsure whether they should present locally or drive further to Albany or Narrogin to ensure they see a doctor.

“The Nationals priority is to ensure a doctor is available no matter what time or day someone presents at Katanning Hospital.”

St John Ambulance told the forum that the shortage of doctors had led to mounting non-urgent patient transfers to other hospitals which was putting a major strain on volunteers.

Mr Rundle said one item raised repeatedly at the forum was the problems created by tighter restrictions on visas for international medical graduates.

“We gave an undertaking to speak to our Federal colleagues in Canberra about those restrictions for overseas-trained doctors to see if there is anything we can do to ease the burden on regional towns struggling to attract or retrain Australian doctors,” Mr Rundle said.

“It was fantastic to have Mia and a number of my Nationals colleagues in town to hear the concerns of the health sector and broader community face-to-face.

“It again shows that The Nationals are the only party which truly represents country areas and why it is important that we keep a strong, independent regional voice in the State Parliament.”

Mr Rundle thanked Shire of Katanning chief executive Julian Murphy, President Liz Guidera and her fellow councillors for taking part and allowing use of the council chambers for the meeting.

“I look forward to working with Liz and the Shire on finding solutions for the issues raised,” he said.

Media Release - Peter Rundle MLA

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