General practices in communities across the country where there are GP shortfalls, such as in the Hawkesbury, can now recruit from a much larger pool of doctors as a result of an update to the Distribution Priority Areas (DPA).

International medical graduates and overseas-trained doctors are only able to access Medicare if they work in a DPA area.

A DPA classification means practices in DPA areas have access to more doctors who can work for the local community.

All 707 areas in need across the country, including Macquarie, will have priority access to this pool.

In Macquarie, the update means practices in the Blue Mountains, and most practices in the Hawkesbury, will be able to recruit overseas-trained and bonded medical program doctors to the region to help address shortages.

Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Emma McBride said as a pharmacist of 20 years and a local MP, she knew the importance of quality health care close to home.

“I look forward to working with GPs, the training colleges, and jurisdictions to find ongoing solutions to health access challenges faced by rural and regional communities.”

Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman said the announcement was great news for overstretched GPs and residents across the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.

“I see first-hand the impact that a lack of GP services has on our community, a situation that has only been made worse by COVID,” Ms Templeman said.

“Under this initiative, we will now have access to a broader pool of available GPs, which means improved access to quality care for our region.”

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