WA should look to the Commonwealth to alleviate its rural doctor shortage, says Health Minister Kim Hames.
A recent Rural Health West survey of Kalgoorlie-Boulder medical practices found there would be just 25 doctors at the end of the year, with 17 vacant positions.
In the city for the opening of the redeveloped Kalgoorlie Health Campus yesterday, Dr Hames said ultimate responsibility for addressing private sector doctor shortages fell to the Federal Government.
“The important thing to understand is where the responsibility lies,” Dr Hames said. "I’m sure you wouldn’t go to the local council and say, ‘why aren’t you employing more doctors?’ because everyone knows local governments don’t employ doctors. People think State Governments do and we don’t.
“We look after the hospital; that’s a State Government job. The Commonwealth look after primary health care, which is provision of dentists and doctors and so on.”
Dr Hames was in Kalgoorlie-Boulder yesterday for the opening of the $55.8 million Kalgoorlie Health Campus redevelopment, along with Premier Colin Barnett and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls. The group was met by about 40 hospital and education support workers rallying over pay negotiations.