AMA President on the election trail # 2

2 Oct 2001

BENDIGO AND BALLARAT - REGIONAL AREAS IN NEED OF BETTER HEALTH SERVICES

AMA President, Dr Kerryn Phelps, will travel to Bendigo and Ballarat this Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October to meet with local doctors to learn first-hand about the health needs of these two major regional centres and their surrounding areas.

Dr Phelps said today that Bendigo and Ballarat are important regional areas in need of better health services.

"These areas are experiencing GP shortages, limited psychiatric services, public hospital bed shortages, and doctors are leaving country towns and regional centres because of the difficulties of practice," Dr Phelps said.

"What's happening in Bendigo and Ballarat is indicative of some of the major problems currently confronting the Australian health system, doctors and patients all around Australia.

"I will be hearing directly from the doctors and patients of Bendigo and Ballarat what they think can be done to improve health services in the area. I want to hear from grassroots doctors what they think needs to be done with health policy in this country.

"The AMA will then make representations to urge the Government and the Opposition to respond accordingly when they release their health policies for the election.

"People want greater funding and resources for their public hospitals and aged care facilities, and they want doctors to come to their communities and stay there for the long term.

"This will require action by the Government to revitalise Medicare and improve public hospital funding, ensure appropriate funding for aged care, reduce red tape, and fix the problems created by application of competition policy by the ACCC.

"The people of regional Australia - the people of Bendigo and Ballarat - deserve quality medical services. The AMA will take this message to all politicians," Dr Phelps said.


CONTACT: John Flannery (02) 6270 5477 / (0419) 494 761

Sarah Crichton (02) 6270 5472 / (0419) 440 076

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