Thursday, August 28, 2008

report from the round table – 26th Aug

Another busy night at council with public submitters and questions from the public as well. Submitters covered diverse issues, one talking about the use of 1080, an appalling poison, still used in this country to kill animals, the impact on wildlife is devastating and I can’t understand why our government still permits its use.

Another submitter was seeking some additional fixtures on the Lilydale Skate Park to enable local skaters to do more ‘street’ tricks. It was great to see someone young addressing council, I hope we see more of it.

The gallery was packed with residents of Walmsley Friendship Village seeking a rate reduction, so there was much activity on the night.

But the issue I’m going to report back on was an item about GP services in the Shire. This is an issue I’m very concerned about, the statistics are shocking. In the Hills region of the shire the ratio of people to GPs is 1350:1. This is the seventh highest in Australia and is certainly the highest in a metropolitan area.

Back in June I wrote to the Eastern Ranges GP Association and the Knox Division of General Practice offering my assistance to help with any advocacy efforts to increase GP numbers in the region. I went on to assure both organisations that the Shire will continue to work in partnership in support of GP services across the Shire.

The models in place at the moment are letting our community down and it’s a tragedy that people are being forced off the mountain to see a GP or end up at casualty at The Angliss Hospital.

I’m very concerned about the lack of Doctors and prior to the council meeting I amended a motion to put before council that looked specifically at the issues in the Dandenongs. The motion sought to write to the Federal Government and local politicians to advocate for a range of things including ways to address the critical shortage of Doctors in the area. Although the Mayor did not give me the opportunity to move my motion, I certainly seconded it and it did get the full support of council.

We are at crisis level, 1350:1 is not an acceptable ratio and we need to take every opportunity to highlight the plight of our community. Our community shouldn’t have to roll the dice every time they want to see a GP. This is a telling example of where one size does not fit all, and the metropolitan rating of the Dandenongs is completely inappropriate in spite of our close location to the Angliss Hospital.

I hope that if enough people put pressure on government we will see some positive change and our community gets appropriate access to GPs across the Hills.

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