The Warwick Medical Centre is rumoured to close in the next few months.
The Warwick Medical Centre is rumoured to close in the next few months. Georja Ryan

Lack of doctors forces closure

A DOCTOR shortage has forced the Warwick Medical Centre to propose the closure of the practice mid year, it has been confirmed.

Owner of the practice Barbara Hannon said the decision was made last week, with the patient load proving too much for the current staff.

"Basically, the practice is a busy practice and it's too much for one person," Mrs Hannon said, whose husband Chris is the centre's permanent full-time doctor.

The Rose City's doctor shortage has also proven a problem for the Condamine Medical Centre who, as the Daily News reported on Wednesday, had closed their books to any new patients for the same reason.

Australian Medical Association, Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd said attracting doctors to regional areas was a hard enough task without the added pressure of a doctor shortage state-wide.

"It's very hard and particularly difficult at the moment as there is a work shortage everywhere, even in Brisbane," Dr Kidd said.

"In rural areas it's even more difficult because there are limited funds and a federal system where the Medicare patient rebate is getting lower and lower."

He said the community needed to get together to make the region appealing to graduate doctors.

"One of challenges is that the community needs to come together, and maybe the mayor to come together with business leaders to make Warwick more attractive to younger doctors so they will move there and be more attractive to families," Dr Kidd said.

"With a beautiful place like Warwick, once you get one there, chances are you'll keep them."

Local member Lawrence Springborg was concerned with the current situation and if things did not get better, the government would have to step in.

"It's a matter now of hoping someone will come and take over this practice and hopefully the Condamine Medical Centre will be able to recruit more doctors," Mr Springborg said.

The Warwick Medical Centre had an enquiry to purchase the practice yesterday and Mrs Hannon said although nothing was confirmed and it was only an expression of interest, the practice would try to find someone to take over the centre.


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