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The suggestion nurse practitioners could help address doctor shortages in rural areas has been ruled out by the Australian Medical Association.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls visited Laverton Hospital last month, meeting with staff about the need for redevelopment of the facility.

During the visit Mr Grylls said he planned to investigate if nurse practitioners could be used to help fill the void left by GP shortages in regional areas.

But AMA (WA) president Richard Choong said the reality was there were not many nurse practitioners working in WA.

Dr Choong said there were just three nurse practitioners working in general practice in the State.

“Australia-wide there are only 700 (nurse practitioners),” he said.

“Australia wide there are 28,000 GPs.

“I don’t really see the nurse practitioners answering any solutions really; .

“When you look at the absolute numbers I can’t see that is a solution.”

He said addressing support services would do more to attract doctors to regional areas.