THE region’s medical clinics are elated the federal government has formerly recognised the Wimmera’s health workforce shortage.
Horsham and Stawell received confirmation last week the government would classify both towns as being a District of Workforce Shortage.
It came after Health Minister Greg Hunt visited the region in late February and promised he would immediately review the area’s classification.
A District of Workforce Shortage is a government measure designed to ensure adequate provision of medical services across Australia.
The status is applied when an area has less access to medical services than the national average.
Stawell Medical Centre practice manager Kim Hinkley said she was delighted when informed of the government’s decision on Wednesday.
She said the practice would now have greater opportunities for recruiting doctors.
“After hearing the news I communicated with the practice manager at Lister House Medical Clinic in Horsham, and we are equally thrilled that our towns and practices have been recognised as having a severe workforce shortage,” she said.
“While this will not immediately resolve our issues with finding suitable doctors, it opens up our scope to recruit someone who was previously ineligible.
“I look forward to working with agencies like Rural Workforce Agency Victoria to showcase our beautiful region to doctors who might be interested in the life of a country general practitioner with all of the amazing benefits that can bring.
“Stawell is situated in an ideal location being close to the Grampians region which is renowned for bushwalking, climbing, great climate outstanding produce and wine.
“We are able to offer a doctor the whole cycle of care to their patients in the clinic and of course in our modern and well-equipped hospital.
“Stawell can offer families a healthy rural lifestyle in a relaxed and welcoming town.”
Earlier this year, Mrs Hinkley told the Mail-Times the lack of a District of Workforce Shortage classification was hampering the practice’s efforts to recruit doctors.