Doctor shortage critical, says Campbelltown mayor

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Campbelltown Council is calling on state and federal health ministers to do something about the shortage of doctors in the region.

Mayor George Greiss has written to the two ministers, and also to the Opposition health spokespersons, describing the situation as “critical’’.

“At our last meeting of 2023, council resolved that I write to you to express our concerns with the shortage of GPs in Campbelltown and the Macarthur region noting the issue has reached a critical point, with patients experiencing prolonged wait times and struggling to secure timely appointments,’’ Cr Greiss says in the letter.

He points out that the Macarthur region has one GP for every 1,154 residents, compared with the Greater Sydney average of one GP for every 824 residents.

“This scarcity not only hampers the delivery of preventative and routine healthcare for the people of Macarthur, it also places undue pressure on emergency departments, which should be reserved for critical cases,’’ says Cr Greiss.

“This is exacerbated by a lack of extended opening hours for GPs, medical centres and pharmacies, as residents seeking medical care after hours have no other option than to present themselves to the emergency department.

“In light of the chronic health conditions that many in Macarthur manage and the significant population growth expected over the coming decade, this is particularly concerning.’’

The letter is part of a report to council for its first meeting of 2024, to be held next Tuesday night, February 13.

In it the mayor says that in Campbelltown alone there is a higher burden of disease for residents in 9 of the 11 long-term health conditions compared with Greater Sydney, while 70 percent of adult residents in Campbelltown are overweight or obese, much higher than the regional average of 62.6 percent.

The mayor also points out that one in four children in Campbelltown are considered overweight or obese.

“We are therefore calling on the government to address the GP shortage in Campbelltown and the Macarthur region and its impact of these chronic health issues on the health of our residents and on the local hospitals.’’

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