TEN new GPs-in-training are currently working in four Ballina Shire doctors’ surgeries, and it is hoped some of them will choose to stay in the region to alleviate the doctor shortage.
CEO of Ballina-based North Coast GP Training, John Langill, said the local registrars – with three new arrivals – are part of a group of 80 registrars currently at training practices in the region from Port Macquarie to the Queensland border.
Mr Langill said there was no doubt there was a shortage of general practitioner (GP) doctors in the area.
In Ballina Shire, there are currently 55 practising GPs for the population of nearly 38,500 people, as at the 2006 Census.
That means there is one GP for every 700 people.
Mr Langill said the Federal Government’s GP training scheme aimed to encourage more doctors to practice in regional areas.
He said the scheme was working, with about 75 per cent of the 270 past registrars staying in the region after completing their training since North Coast GP Training first set up in 2003.
“Our primary existence is to bring the doctors up here to train with the idea they will work hard in the practices, make friends and want to stay here in the region,” he said.
“There is a growing need as the population grows and gets older.”