An ongoing struggle to attract a full-time GP to Tasmania's East Coast hit a snag when a keen doctor was held up at the state's border.
The doctor had been successful in applying for a role with the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council run health East Coast Health, but his application for entry into Tasmania was delayed due to an ongoing assessment of his "suitability to undertake quarantine in a suitable premises".
A spokesperson for the Tasmanian State Control Centre, the body responsible for processing essential traveller applications, confirmed a doctor wanting to travel to the East Coast had been "deemed suitable to enter Tasmania", but conceded the application was still ongoing.
State Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the recruitment of GPs to private practices was not the government's responsibility, but they maintained an "interest in ensuring GP services can be provided to local communities across Tasmania".
"The Tasmanian government acknowledges the important role GPs and the primary healthcare sector plays in caring for our community," he said.
GSBC mayor Robert Young said he was "less than pleased" the commencement of the doctor at the service was held up.
He said he had on Tuesday written to Premier Peter Gutwein, and referred correspondence onto Mr Rockliff, after hearing about the border hold-up the previous day, but had not heard back from either of them.
He said the letter explained the council had offered to pay all of the doctor's relocation and quarantine fees, and were ready to source a place of accommodation for his quarantine.
Mr Young said the median age of municipality residents was about 53, and members of the ageing population were inconvenienced by having to travel to Launceston or Hobart for some health services.
In August a doctor joined the Bicheno Medical Centre in a part-time role after an ongoing process to find a second GP for the facility.
That doctor's employment came just after a unanimous council vote to privatise health care in the region, a change from it being traditionally council run.
An expression of interest advertised by the council to more than "600 organisations across Australia" had received no submissions by the time advertising had concluded at the end of August.
Mr Young said since then there had been discussions with more than one medical provider over assuming control of the council-run facilities.
Mr Young said he had contacted the state government several times to help "obtain some form of assistance in the dilemma we have in providing an adequate level of medical".
Mr Rockliff said he had written to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt "seeking additional support for GPs working in rural and remote areas of Tasmania".
In the meantime, he said money provided by the state was to help maximise GP coverage.
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