Gunnedah's desperate need for doctors will be the focus of serious talks on December 14.
The town's doctors will meet together to discuss the drastic shortage of GPs and consider strategies proposed by a working group established to find a solution to the ongoing issue.
Gunnedah Shire Council engaged the Rural Doctors Network NSW (RDN NSW) in late 2020 in a bid to address the doctor crisis and find ways to attract and retain GPs.
The working group includes representatives of NSW Rural Doctors Network, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network, GP Synergy, Hunter New England Local Health District and the Gunnedah council.
Working group chair, Dr Estrella Lowe from RDN, said the meeting was critical in creating a practical action plan for the shire.
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"It is very apparent that the people of Gunnedah Shire have too few local GPs to meet their needs and the point of this meeting is to present those strategies to the hard-working people on the ground - Gunnedah's doctors - to find with them an agreed way forward," Dr Lowe said.
"Following A State of Play report on the current situation and a survey of the Gunnedah Shire Community, the working group has put together a number of strategies we believe could lead to long-term results.
"This is about not only finding solutions but working together to make those solutions practical and achievable. We need to know what is likely to work, what is still missing and how best to put the solutions into action."
Former Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said he was one of many locals who no longer had a doctor and the town had lived with "uncertainty" for many years.
"Any action that's going to bring certainty and confidence to the community, so there won't be a continually revolving door of doctors, is positive," he said.
"I'm a busy person by choice but I can't imagine how busy those doctors who are serving our community are and the stress and pressure they're under.
"Anything at all that the community can do that's going to bring more doctors and share that load has to be a positive thing."
The State of Play report and the Gunnedah shire community survey have been submitted to the ongoing NSW Government Upper House Inquiry into Rural Health Services.
- This story first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader website.
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