Doctors use laws to get rural report public

RURAL doctors fed up with Health Department stonewalling will use freedom-of-information laws to expose the effects of the remoteness area classification system they say is tearing small towns apart.

RDAA president Dr Paul Mara said the department’s refusal – during recent Senate estimates hearings – to release an internal report on the system, or conduct a review for at least 12 months, had forced the association’s hand.

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system, which replaced the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) index in July last year, dictates the incentives GPs and registrars will receive for relocating to, or staying in, a given town or city.

The new system has in some instances resulted in similar incentives being offered for those who work in small towns and larger regional centres. 

Queensland GP Dr Bryan Connor said his Cloncurry practice