Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP is warning Barker residents that it may be even harder to see a GP in Barker as a result of the Federal Labor Government changes to the Distribution Priority Areas (DPAs) to now included metropolitan suburbs.


Under the Coalition Government overseas-trained doctors were required to spend time working in areas of need, before allowing them to practice anywhere.


“DPA’s were established to identify areas of need and address workforce shortage in rural and regional areas. Labor have come to Government and within weeks, effectively removed this requirement by adding many metropolitan suburbs to the list of DPAs,” said Mr Pasin.


“As a result we’re seeing many GPs leave there jobs in rural and regional areas and move to the suburbs of capital cities. This is devastating news to communities in Barker already struggling to attract and hold on to GPs,”


“While the Coalition committed to funding programs that would have seen more GPs in rural and regional Australia, Labor have come to Government and removed one of the existing measures that was addressing the distribution issue,” Mr Pasin said.


During the election campaign, the Coalition committed Federal funding to establish a new Regional Training Hub in the Riverland to address critical medical workforce needs. Under the Riverland Academy of Clinical Excellence (RACE) an ‘end to end’ medical school program would be established from junior doctor training and registrar training through to Fellowship all based in the regions.


The RACE model is based on the premise (and supported by evidence) that by training medical students in a rural and regional setting they are more likely to remain in the region following graduation.


“One of the first things I did after the election was write to the new Federal Minister for Health, Mark Butler and highlight the need to address the workforce shortage and encourage him to support the RACE model. So far, Labor has done doing nothing to address rural, regional and remote GP shortage. I cant understand why Labor is making a bad situation worse by channelling our regional GPs into the suburbs,” Mr Pasin said.


Mr Pasin met with Rural Doctors Association of SA president and Murray Bridge Clinic GP, Peter Rischbieth this week to discuss challenges facing rural general practice.


Dr Rischbieth said he was concerned about changes to DPA’s and what this would mean for the regions.


“We’re going to lose workforce that would usually come to the country, and this will put additional strain on our regional GP clinics. We are already seeing a decline in junior doctors applying to work in general practice- I’m concerned that taking the incentive for international doctors to work in the country will compound the workforce issue here,” Dr Rischbieth said.


Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730