LAUNCESTON'S first new doctors in private practice for some time were welcomed by the Australian Medical Association's Tasmanian branch yesterday.
However, Northern AMA spokesman Glenn Richardson said that many more were needed to cope with the region's existing and future demands.
Several new doctors advertised at the weekend that they were open for business and ready to take new patients.
They included East Launceston doctor Earnest Mukwevho and South Launceston obstetrician- gynaecologist Ben Dhanaraj.
Several existing practices also advertised that they would welcome new patients.
One of the new GPs has a special interest in skin medicine.
Dr Richardson said that it was pleasing to hear of any new doctors.
Last month he said that there were about 160 general practitioners in Northern Tasmania which equated to 98.4 full-time equivalent.
That means there are 68.3 full-time GPs for every 100,000 patients, compared with the 130 GPs per 100,000 patients regarded as the number needed in metropolitan areas.
Dr Richardson said that the North's ageing and multi-disease demographics meant that there was a growing and "sickening" demand for GPs.
"At the same time the average age of GPs means that in the next five to 10 years we will see the retirement of a large number of predominantly male doctors," he said.
The Northern region needed generalist doctors both in general practice and surgery, Dr Richardson said.
"Once we had a number of general surgeons, but now everyone specialises," he said.
"We need new people across the board because of the looming tsunami of age and ill health."