Nurse solution to rural doctor shortage 'unrealistic'

Last month, WA Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls reportedly announced during a visit to a regional WA hospital that he planned to explore whether nurse practitioners could be used to ameliorate the doctor shortage in regional areas.

But GP and AMA Western Australia president Dr Richard Choong told MO it was not a solution to the problem.

“We often have local and state governments saying nurse practitioners are a solution to GP workforce issues. The reality is there are not enough nurse practitioners with only 700 in the country, versus 28,000 GPs.”

He added there were only three nurse practitioners in general practice in WA.

Last month MO reported on a critical doctor shortage in WA after health workforce agency Rural Health West confirmed by January next year there would be 15 GP vacancies out of a total 30 GPs in the twin towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Dr Choong also explained it was too