Region’s Status Reclassified To Help Reduce Doctor Shortage
GP clinics in Mandurah and Pinjarra can now recruit overseas trained doctors and bonded medical practitioners, after the region successfully campaigned to have its Distribution Priority Area (DPA) status reviewed.
Mandurah and Pinjarra are now classified as DPA following an application to the Federal Government’s “exceptional circumstances” review.
Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie, said the successful application means local medical practices in the Peel Region will have greater opportunity to address local GP doctor shortages.
“This change gives local GP practices a larger pool or doctors to recruit from, which should make it easier for clinics to secure more doctors.,” Mr Hastie said.
“The DPA classification identifies regions where people find it harder to see a doctor, based on the needs of the community.
“Having enough doctors is fundamental to any community and that’s even more true when you live or work in a regional area like ours,” Mr Hastie said.
“For a long time, practices and patients in Mandurah and Pinjarra have understood that our region needs this classification.
“We’ve lobbied for years to get the needs of our community properly recognised. It’s wonderful news.
“Last year the Minister established the exceptional circumstances review system for DPA status, and it’s through that mechanism that this long sought-after decision has been made.”
Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie said he set up the review process to ensure that an area’s DPA status was based on contemporaneous information, supported vulnerable patient cohorts and was responsive to significant workforce and population changes.
The exceptional circumstances review applications were considered by an independent working group, which made recommendations to Minister Gillespie.
As well as changes to the health workforce or services, the review considers demographics, and more up to date data which was not available at the time of the previous DPA update.
The DPA indicator has been in place for three years, helping prioritise access to doctors for underserviced rural areas.
It is one of many Australian Government initiatives to address the maldistribution of the medical workforce and encourage doctors under location restrictions to work in regional, rural and remote communities.