Saratoga Medical Centre led a drawn out campaign that was ultimately successful in having the area granted Distribution Priority Area (DPA) status. GP clinics in a number of surrounding locations can now recruit overseas-trained doctors and bonded medical practitioners to help ease the GP shortage.
The change to DPA status followed an application to the Federal Government’s “exceptional circumstances” review co-ordinated with help from the Primary Health Network (PHN). The DPA classification identifies regions in which people find it harder to see a doctor, based on the needs of the community. Many of the area's GPs are nearing retirement and the elderly population has a high average age.
The PHN has recently helped recruit 12 new doctors to the Central Coast through its Sea Change grants program. These were specific grants for recruiting doctors to local practices from outside of the region.
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