NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said there’s still no definite plan from the department on how to help Walcha recruit a new doctor for its multi-purpose service (MPS).
Long-serving medico Dr Adrian Allen will be stepping down from his MPS post at the end of June, but concerns are mounting with Walcha mayor Eric Noakes revealing there has been no interest in the adverstised visiting medical officer (VMO) position which was opened in January.
The minister made a whirlwind visit to the region, visiting hospitals in Tamworth and Armidale.
“I am aware of the issue in Walcha and I’ve certainly asked the department to look at what steps we can take to support the community of Walcha,” Mr Hazzard said.
“At this point, there’s no definite plans for how we can do that, it’s certainly on my radar.”
Tamworth has also had issues attracting medical specialists, with a range of groups lobbying for additional support in palliation, breast cancer, ear, nose and throat and neurological sectors.
The minister said it wasn’t a problem exclusive to Tamworth.
“There is a challenge around getting some of the medical professionals, many of whom prefer to be down by the coast,” he said.
“We need to work on that and make sure they see just how fabulous this area is.”
Cr Noakes recently said maintaining the shire’s medical service was “probably the most challenging situation I have been involved in since being elected to council”.