WITH only seven general practitioners left in Mount Isa, and some of those slated to leave this year, it was urgent to act on attracting and retaining GPs in the town, said State Member Rob Katter.
Mr Katter attended the forum on the GP shortage in the region last week, and said there needed to be a better focus on training and support.
"We need a better focus on this area on training these budding GPs, and there seems to be some dissatisfaction with our local GPs over the lack of support and training in this region.
"For example, it would help our situation if the GP training body would insist that all trainee GPs do a six-month rotation in Mount Isa that would help our situation."
Mr Katter said he listened to anecdotal evidence at the Medicare Local meeting on the GP shortage on Tuesday night that indicated new doctors were happy to come to Mount Isa but were often blocked by bureaucratic red tape.
He said more incentives for rural GP registrars were needed, including subsidised housing and an improved retention payment scheme.
"There's no doubt that the cost of living in Mount Isa is much higher than in coastal towns, so we need more incentives to attract young doctors here.
"GPs in remote areas receive the same Medicare payments as a GP in a large Sydney clinic, so that's not helping with their remuneration.
"In addition, the changes to the retention payment scheme means GPs coming to Mount Isa or Cloncurry or any other remote centre in the North West get not much more money than a GP living in Townsville or Cairns."
The change to the remote area classification was driving doctors away from remote regions and sending them to resort cities on the coast, Mr Katter said.
He said he supported Rural Doctors of Queensland (RDAQ) which had been making a case for change to the remote area classification for some time.
"The classification system has been changed to the point where it has reduced the potency of the rural incentive, and needs a drastic review."
People had the perception that GPs were well paid, Mr Katter said.
"But a GP registrar, the ones we are trying to attract here, is on a $70,000 base salary, and any young doctor who has to pay big city rental for a house or flat is going to choose a cheaper, more accessible town to put up their shingle."