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21 November 2001

Rural and Remote Medical Services tackle local doctor crisis

Who better to identify and have empathy towards the doctor shortage that Lightning Ridge shares with many NSW centres than local identity Margot Anderson. Recently recruited from Far West Area Health Service, Margot has been contracted as Manager Rural and Remote Medical Services.

The difficulties experienced in Lightning Ridge are by no means unique. However, identifying and providing the vital infrastructure necessary to attract doctors is a very positive step forward. "Doctors in these areas need to be able to attend to patients' medical needs without being clouded with the burden of managing practises," said Ms Anderson.

"RAMS would like to ensure that this happen on a walk in, walk out basis providing a house, vehicle, surgery and practise manager to meet this end," she said. "By creating good partnerships this can be achieved."

Walgett Shire Council have assumed considerable responsibility by providing doctor housing both in Walgett and Lightning Ridge.

The non-profit making organisation RAMS is an initiative of the Rural Doctor Network operating on Commonwealth funds and a bi-product from submissions made to the Walgett-Collarenebri Health Forum.

Lightning Ridge is presently being serviced by Dr Harper who may do a six month stint and Dr Lake for a three week period.

Recruiting doctors is a very competitive market with the likelihood of attracting doctors for protracted periods more and more remote.

Offering incentives and the co-operation of those with a vested interest are ingredients vital to the continued provision of adequate medical services in Lightning Ridge.

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