Critical meeting to progress GP action plan

Gunnedah Shire Council

A landmark meeting of Gunnedah doctors to consider potential short, medium and long-term strategies to address the shortage of GPs in Gunnedah Shire will take place on December 14.

The doctors will consider a range of strategies proposed by a working group established to find lasting solutions to Gunnedah’s GP workforce crisis.

Gunnedah Shire Council engaged the Rural Doctors Network NSW (RDN NSW) late last year to develop a way forward for a sustainable GP workforce, including ways to attract and retain GPs.

The working group includes representatives of NSW Rural Doctors Network, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network, GP Synergy, Hunter New England Local Health District and Gunnedah Shire Council.

Chair of the working group, Dr Estrella Lowe from RDN, said the December 14 meeting was a critical step in building a practical action plan for Gunnedah.

“Following A State of Play report on the current situation and a survey of the Gunnedah Shire Community, the working group has put together a number of strategies we believe could lead to long-term results,” Dr Lowe said.

“It is very apparent that the people of Gunnedah Shire have too few local GPs to meet their needs and the point of this meeting is to present those strategies to the hard-working people on the ground – Gunnedah’s doctors – to find with them an agreed way forward.

“This is about not only finding solutions but working together to make those solutions practical and achievable. We need to know what is likely to work, what is still missing and how best to put the solutions into action.

“It’s exciting to be at this point and we are looking forward to a plan that has our health professionals on board and excited about the future of primary health care for Gunnedah Shire.”

Both the State of Play report and the Gunnedah Shire community survey have also been submitted to the ongoing NSW Government Upper House Inquiry into Rural Health Services.

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