Attracting a new doctor to Quorn

In 2018 Dr Anthony Lian-Lloyd was honoured with a long service medal from the Rural Doctors Workforce Association.
In 2018 Dr Anthony Lian-Lloyd was honoured with a long service medal from the Rural Doctors Workforce Association.

The Flinders Ranges Council have put out a call to action for all Quorn residents to rally together to help attract a new doctor to town.

Dr Tony Lian-Lloyd has serviced the region for 28 years and is the only General Practitioner for over 1,000 people.

At 65-years-old he is edging retirement, but has no plans to go anywhere until he has found a suitable replacement to take care of his patients.

Last year Tony, as he's known to his patients, was awarded 25-years long service from the Rural Doctors Workforce Association.

One of his biggest missions has been attracting young doctors to rural and regional towns.

"The key thing is I keep working to look for someone. I have to start planning long term now to get someone to replace me, I've been doing that for 25 years. That's the hard part, they are hard to come by," he told The Transcontinental.

"We need more incentive, we need more support for that to happen.

"It's not always about money, it has got to be about maintaining our hospitals. Its good for not only doctors, but for for allied health, physiotherapists and nursing cohort."

In a statement, Council said the community must now take the opportunity to commence planning for and attracting a replacement GP.

The local community has already held several meetings to establish a working group to assist in developing a strategy.

"Securing a replacement GP is going to be a challenge for the whole community," Council said.

"This is not an issue for complacency, nor can we leave it to someone else. Failure to act will effect the viability and vibrancy of our community."

There are many factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas.

Work issues such as inadequate remuneration, lengthy working hours, significant on call arrangements and lack of locum relief can be significant barriers to the supply of doctors.

In 2012, GPs in major cities worked 38 hours per week on average, while those in inner regional areas worked 41 hours, and those in remote/very remote areas worked 46 hours.

As part of a 2018 election promise, the state government has committed to investing $20 million over four years to develop and implement the Rural Health Workforce Plan.

While it is unclear how that money will be dispersed, Country Health SA recently awarded a $20,000 Medical Workforce Recruitment Grant to the Flinders Ranges Council.

The grant will help kick start local community fundraising and other efforts, like providing Doctor's accommodation.