Premier Marshall takes interest in Kimba doctor crisis

MEETING: Premier Steven Marshall with Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson, CEO Deb Larwood and Deputy Mayor Megan Lienert.
MEETING: Premier Steven Marshall with Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson, CEO Deb Larwood and Deputy Mayor Megan Lienert.

State Premier Steven Marshall has taken a personal interest in the search for a permanent doctor for Kimba.

Mr Marshall met with Kimba District Council representatives in Adelaide earlier this month in a meeting council chief executive officer Deb Larwood described as "hopeful."

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson said Mr Marshall wanted to know what the council had done previously to try and attract a doctor and where the roadblocks were.

"His question was 'what can I do to help?'" Mr Johnson said.

Complications with recruiting international doctors was discussed, with current immigration red tape proving a major roadblock for doctors interested in the position from outside Australia.

Mr Johnson said current regulations meant it would take a minimum of 12 months to hire an international doctor, and often older and more experienced candidates were not eligible.

"We've had international doctors interested... the red tape just got too hard," he said.

He said Mr Marshall spoke about working with the federal government to bypass current legislation in Kimba's case.

Mr Marshall was also interested in an advertisement campaign the council is planning as part of $47,000 set aside in the next budget for doctor recruitment.

While no commitment was made, Mrs Larwood said there was a possibility of the government partnering with the council for their advertising.

The group also discussed the case of some rural communities in North America setting up funds to assist local doctors in paying their students loans.

Mrs Larwood said they spoke about setting up a professional development and personal wellbeing fund to fund a variety of benefits to assist the local doctor.

She said the council representatives were "probably the most hopeful we've been coming out of a meeting" in relation to the GP crisis.

"It actually felt like someone was listening."

Mr Johnson said attracting the attention of the Premier was a "real win."

"For the Premier to take a personal interest in our situation speaks volumes," he said.

"We're doing our bit, it's about time the state government stumped up and provides assistance."