House call service is seeking more doctors as shortage bites
A CRUCIAL Bundaberg medical service has put out a plea for more doctors as it struggles to cope with a spike in flu cases.
House Call Doctor is on a recruitment drive for extra GPs across Bundaberg to help cope with increased demand as the flu season worsens.
Queensland Health figures show for the two weeks to Sunday the Wide Bay region recorded 175 influenza cases, which is well above the year-to-date mean of 154.
So far this year the region has recorded 543 cases.
The call for more doctors comes after recent NewsMail reports about the ongoing shortage problems across the region.
Earlier this month residents in Childers expressed their frustrations over growing delays caused by Bundaberg people doing a 100km round trip to secure an appointment.
Meanwhile, a doctor service at Bargara had to close its doors due to the shortage.
Last year doctors were flown into Bundaberg from Brisbane and inter-state to help handle what was a much milder flu season.
This year with only six doctors on its list, House Call Doctor looks like it will have to do the same thing, even if doctors can be found to operate here.
The service says it has treated more than 400 patients in Bundaberg this year, for flu-like symptoms.
House Call Doctor CEO Wayne Ormond said he was looking to hire as many new doctors as they could for Bundaberg and help take pressure off the local hospital emergency department.
“House Call Doctor already has extra doctors rostered on more shifts,” he said.
“With the worst of the flu season ahead of us, we are putting the call out for more doctors to join the service to help cope with patient demand at night and on weekends.
“There have been close to 20,000 flu cases already this year in Queensland and we’re urging people to get the flu vaccine, and if they are sick, stay home from work and keep children home from school.
“The best time to get vaccinated is now, so people should be going to their GP to have the flu shot before the worst of the flu season hits.”
Last month Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said he’d spoken about the doctor situation with the Deputy Prime Minister and would be raising the matter with the incoming minister responsible for rural health.
The home-visiting doctor service launched in Bundaberg in April 2015 and now cares for more patients in the after-hours across regional Queensland than any other provider.
Mr Ormond said the Federal Government had proven regional healthcare was a priority when it increased the Medicare rebate for doctors working in areas such as Bundaberg in the after-hours.
Department of Health figures shows 32 per cent of people who go to hospital emergency departments could be treated by a GP.
For more information, visit the House Call Doctor website at housecalldoctor.com.au.
Original Source: News Mail | 29 June 2019