Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service board chair Mike Horan said they are always looking to attract more doctors to regional areas.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service board chair Mike Horan said they are always looking to attract more doctors to regional areas. Bev Lacey

Attracting doctors a challenge for South Burnett

THE biggest challenge facing the South Burnett region's health care was attracting doctors to live and work in the area long-term.

That's according to Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service board chair Mike Horan when speaking at a community engagement luncheon at Murgon hospital on Tuesday.

"It is difficult for doctors and senior nurses to come here and take up residence and live here long term because a lot of people have got partners who have professional jobs elsewhere,” he said.

"Places like Murgon are a lovely country town and a great place to live and bring up your kids and that is one of the things that we need to do when we are recruiting.

"We are trying to make sure that accommodation is as good as it can be and also to sell the benefits of a country town, life in a country town, and schooling opportunities and recreational opportunities for children.”

DDHS is currently actively looking to employ a new medical superintendent for Cherbourg, Murgon and Proston with Robyn Cooke moving on from the role.

South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell said the South Burnett Regional Council looked to sell the region as well-equipped with facilities to be attractive for professionals.

"One of the really strong features of attracting people to the area is the availability of medical services.

"It is as important as good schooling operations as it is important to have good access to retail activity and business in general,” he said.

"It is important to have a well-serviced medical service operation within the region to deal with the issues relevant to rural people as well as those who come to live in the area taking up positions.”

Cr Campbell said with new residents having difficulty finding a doctor's surgery he believed the potential for employing more doctors or opening a new practice needed to be addressed.

"I think that is one feature that needs to be looked into because I have heard of people coming into the area and they have been unable to find a doctor,” he said.