The Hunter’s Labor team is making good on their word, updating the regions Distribution Priority Areas in an effort to address the GP Shortage.
The reclassification means local practices can now recruit GP’s from overseas and the Bonded Medical Program, where medical students have their education paid for if they work in a regional, rural or remote area after they graduate.
International medical graduates and overseas trained doctors are only able to access Medicare if they work in a DPA area. The classifications means practices within these areas have access to more doctors who can work in the community.
Under the latest update, Kurri Kurri-Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Mailtand, Morisset-Cooranbong, Cessnock, Cessnock Region and Nelson Bay GP catchments now have DPA status.
The commitment was made by Labor during the federal election campaign.
Shortland MP Pat Conroy says he’s pleased they’ve been able to deliver it so quickly.
“This change will not only take the stress off local GP’s, it will also reduce patient wait times, making it much easier for them to see their doctor,” Mr Conroy said.
The changes take effect from Thursday.
Pictured: L-R Hunter GP Lee Fong, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson, Shortland MP Pat Conroy and Hunter MP Dan Repacholi. Image: NEWFM/Jarrod Melmeth