Rural GPs forced to pull out of after-hours services

A GROUP of frustrated and overburdened GPs have withdrawn their after-hours VMO services from a NSW hospital, amid warnings that other rural doctors may soon follow suit.

The nine GPs previously provided after-hours care for Pambula Hospital on the NSW south coast, but said ongoing service cuts – including closure of the maternity unit and the loss of experienced nursing staff – had led to an unmanageable workload.

The doctors will continue providing VMO services to the hospital during normal work hours. 

As of last week, critical patients attending the hospital after 10 pm were being triaged by nurses and transferred to Bega Hospital.

Local GP Dr Frank Simonson said the funding cuts to local services had resulted in a marked increase in the number of after-hours calls he and his colleagues received.

“We are simply not able to keep up the pace of providing increased after-hours care as well as meeting [our