New lures failing to hook more doctors for Fraser Coast

INCENTIVES worth up to $100,000 are failing to fill the Fraser Coast's desperate medical shortfall.

The Federal Government is offering HECS debt rebates worth about $60,000; relocation grants of $15,000; and $26,500 in retention grants for anaesthetists, cardiologists, diagnostic radiologists and psychiatrists.

The bonuses are designed to plug the region's medical gaps and ensure residents get the same healthcare as people living in metropolitan areas.

But two of the country's leading health experts say more needs to be done.

LETTER: Demand for more equitable health system

AMA federal vice-president Stephen Parnis said Fraser Coast residents were paying the price as practitioner positions went begging.

"There are still many areas in regional Australia where you can't attract and retain the types of doctors that are needed," he said.

"Really, when you look at almost every single health outcome, they show that people in rural and regional Australia have poorer outcomes than their city counterparts."

Rural Doctors Association of Australia president Professor Dennis Pashen said any moves to slash Medicare rebates would see young doctors struggling to build sustainable businesses in regional areas.

The Federal Government recently pushed for a $20 cut to the Medicare rebate for short GP consultations.

The cut, just one in a raft of mooted Medicare changes, was expected to save $1.3 billion over four years.

But the plan was dumped after a major backlash.

AMA Queensland president Shaun Rudd said the Federal Government was on the right track.

"It's a work in progress and it's progressing very well," Dr Rudd said of the push to fill the gaps.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash is considering a report on transitioning the General Practice Rural Incentives Program to the Modified Monash Model, which determines each region's medical workforce shortage.

- APN Newsdesk