WA News Letters Raw Deal for Rural GPs
Raw Deal for Rural GPs
Written by Dr Philip Green
Thursday, 27 April 2017

 

This is often a solo GP whose availability may be restricted to 3-5 days a week. For the rest of the time, nurses provide the cover with the support of remote Emergency Telehealth Services.

It then seems hypocritical that when the local GP needs to leave for private or professional development, the locum cover, which is sourced by the GP (with the admirable support of Rural Health West), has to meet very strict criteria to have credentialing accepted.

That level of credentialing is not required for the 2-4 days each week when the local GP is unable to provide on-call services.

It is also incongruous that the locum GP must apply to each area health service for each health facility credentialing. This puts extra pressure on the locum GP's referees who are repeatedly approached for an additional reference.

This has been reduced to some extent by online profiles (Mercury eCredential) but this has not resolved the issue where one area health service provides privileges while another may decline them.

The criteria used to determine clinical privileges, I have been advised, were never intended to be used in this way.

If WACHS is not going to support rural GPs in this way then they should have their own pool of doctors to provide clinical services while the GP takes leave, with or without locum cover for their own practice, which would continue to be supported by Rural Health West.

Dr Philip Green, GP, Australind

RESPONSE

27042017-robins-tony-dr mar11Dr Tony RobinsWA Country Health Service is fully supportive of the care provided by dedicated GPs throughout regional WA and recognises the importance of GPs being able to take time away from their practices. WACHS works in partnership with Rural Health West and other agencies to fund and support initiatives which identify and attract leave relief cover.

Local GPs may be credentialed at the local hospital when they meet the clinical governance requirements to provide safe emergency medicine services. WACHS is bound to apply the WA Department of Health Policy for Credentialing and defining the Scope of Clinical Practice for Medical Practitioners. This policy guides credentialing requirements around the standards of qualification, emergency experience and ongoing professional development. These standards are a minimum requirement in WACHS to ensure that patients who attend an emergency service will be attended to by an appropriately qualified and experienced GP.

Dr Tony Robins, Executive Director Medical Services, WACHS