Since forming just five months ago a proactive women’s group has already began to move and shake in the Upper Hunter.
And the depleted doctor numbers in Scone is one of the major issues they have earmarked to work on.
The Scone Country Women’s Association (CWA) Evening Branch found a core concern for women in the community was the shortage of doctors and the stress placed on the existing local general practitioners.
The group of more than 20 women has set to work on
providing assistance after receiving a presentation from Scone Medical Practice partner Paul Beiboer recently.
Apart from the widely covered re-classification of rural doctors which locates Scone in the same zone as much larger areas including Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Armidale and Tamworth, the other predominant issue in the equation is accommodation.
An issue has been identified where registrars have relocated to Scone for a period of six to 12 months where they play an important role in providing GP services to the local community, however they quite often cannot find accommodation.
According to Dr Beiboer, such doctors can often account for half the doctors servicing the surgery, but the lack of accommodation doesn’t give them much incentive to come back to Scone.
“The major issue that we have here is the critical shortage of good available accommodation for doctors,” Dr Beiboer said.
“We can’t expect them to purchase a property for such a short amount of time, and yet we can’t find reliable rental accommodation for them either.”
The Upper Hunter Shire Council currently provides two properties that are dedicated to the practice; however the CWA group is seeking input to provide one more property.
Scone CWA Evening Branch president Anthea Lisle said they are looking for one more property that would be suitable to rent at
market rental price.
“We’re looking for a community member or organisation to offer up a house for a long term lease or to form a partnership with the practice,” she said.
“This is one small thing we can do that will make such a massive difference.”
Ms Lisle said the group would approach the larger businesses in the district to support the cause.
“The doctors do so much for us; it would be nice to be able to do something back for them.”
Dr Beiboer said if the owner of an investment house or unit could see fit to make it available for the use of the Scone Medical Practice, the practice would certainly be keen to talk to them.
“The demand should be high and you could expect great tenants.”
The group is also lobbying state and federal members and encouraging others to write to the respective ministers to reinforce that the
re-classification is a disadvantage to Scone.
“If people want to collaborate with the branch through a letter they can contact Anthea Lisle on 6545 9249 or Sheena Carter on 6546 1220.
Anyone interested in joining the group or
voicing their concerns is welcome.