Thursday, 29 June 2023

Local MPs renew calls to investigate DWS data

A call for the Albanese Government to investigate the data used to determine the District Workforce Shortage status for cardiologists in the Wide Bay-Burnett region has been renewed following a recent meeting in Canberra.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the shortage of cardiologists in the region will have a wide-reaching impact on both public and private patients in this area if there aren’t changes made to the DWS status.

“This is an issue I raised with the Health Minister last year and have requested meetings with the Minister. My colleague and neighbouring MP Colin Boyce has also recently written to the minister and asked for a meeting,” Mr Pitt said.

“We believe the data that is used for DWS is not an accurate reflection on the actual situation on the ground and how many cardiologists are based in this region.

“Because our region is not DWS for cardiologists, exemptions for non-Australian trained doctors are unavailable, which makes it difficult to recruit replacement specialists.

“A meeting was offered to Colin and myself with the Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health during the last sitting fortnight, however on the day, she avoided the meeting, leaving it to ministerial advisers to attend on her behalf.

“It’s disappointing that she couldn’t just show up for five minutes to hear what we had to say,” he said.

Federal Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said he was disappointed in the Labor Government’s lack of concern regarding shortage of cardiologists in the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

“Local cardiologist Dr Wittmer recently spoke to me regarding the difficulty in recruiting specialist cardiologists to the Bundaberg region due to the area not having District Work Shortage (DWS) status,” Mr Boyce said.

“This is also a concern for Flynn constituents, of whom many travel to Bundaberg including from the Gladstone region to receive specialist treatment.

“Dr Wittmer says his clinic has had three cardiologists that could have been employed but were unable to do so as District Workforce Shortage status was not in place in the Bundaberg region. These specialists instead secured employment in Melbourne and Canberra.

“The Albanese Government must investigate the data used to determine the District Workforce Shortage status for cardiologists in the Wide Bay-Burnett region to ensure the best possible health outcomes for heart health in the region.”

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