It has been three years since the residents of Port Kembla have had their own doctor but a Swedish GP’s desire to fill the role has lifted their hopes.
Dr Aase Pacey, an experienced doctor from Sweden, met federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, Throsby MP Stephen Jones and Port Kembla Chamber of Commerce president Ian Fulford last week to discuss how to cut through red tape to allow her to take up residence as a GP.
Mr Jones said Dr Pacey was an accomplished doctor in Sweden who had moved to Australia with her family.
He said Ms Plibersek did not have the power to hand out Medicare provider numbers but Port Kembla had been declared an area of workforce shortage. Dr Pacey also needs to be accredited by the Australian Medical Association.
‘‘It’s acknowledged there’s less access to GP services in Port Kembla than other areas,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a set of criteria that have to be met ... I’ve asked the minister to go away and look at what can be done to remove all the obstacles to getting a doctor in Port Kembla.’’
Mr Jones hoped to get an answer this week.
Mr Fulford said the people of Port Kembla had not had their own doctor since DrBrian Stein retired three years ago and that the area was crying out for one – residents had been exposed to different chemicals for years which had caused major health issues.
‘‘Dr Pacey understands this full well, because she comes from a very similar community in Sweden – she’s worked with people from disadvantaged communities,’’ MrFulford said.
‘‘She’s extremely well educated and her lecturer was from University of Queensland in Sweden. She’s done three years of surgery and her English literacy skills are of the highest level.’’
Mr Fulford said Dr Pacey had met many residents, and had extensive skills that would serve the area well.
‘‘she’s prepared to given a written commitment to stay in Port Kembla for five years.’’