THE bid to address the doctor shortages at Tumut Hospital to reduce the strain on Wagga Base Hospital has been boosted as discussions about the matters are set to happen in Sydney this week.
Following his meeting with the Tumut Association last week to discuss their petition for two full-time doctors at the hospital, Wagga MP Joe McGirr will raise the matters with Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
In a statement, the association said Dr McGirr concedes that the current on-call model is "outdated as private medical centres are understaffed and their doctors are often unavailable".
"He agrees the hospital should have staff doctors and will be recommending a change to the Tumut Hospital staffing practices [to Brad Hazzard."
Association president Colin Locke said they discussed strategies to recruit doctors to rural and remote areas.
"We came away [from the meeting] feeling somewhat optimistic because a great deal of change needs to happen to the allocation of doctors at hospitals," Mr Locke said.
"We're trying to look at other methods, including special visas to entice doctors from overseas."
Mr Locke said they are also lobbying a number of federal MPs about the matter.
The association and Dr McGirr also discussed the state coroners' recent recommendations to improve care at the hospital following the inquest into the death of pregnant Wiradjuri woman Naomi Williams.
Mr Locke said the association agrees with eight of the nine recommendations.
"We totally agree that Aboriginal counsellors and health staff should be there to liaise with the community on a full-time basis," he said.
The association, Snowy Valleys Council, the Rural Doctors Network and a number of state MPs held a health summit last month to address the matters.
Dr McGirr has been contacted for comments in relation to the discussions with Mr Hazzard.
In July, he said that anecdotally, there is an increased workload for Wagga Base Hospital because doctors are not available at outlying hospitals.
"While it is a few years before we will see its benefits, the expansion of the UNSW Rural Medical School is also set to inject a number of medical graduates directly into the area and I am in the process of pushing for an alternative rural generalist training program to add specialist skills to general practitioner graduates," he said.
"I understand MLHD is ready to commence training, we just need the Commonwealth to fix the problem of trainees accessing Medicare."
Dr McGirr said the doctor shortage is a "deeply concerning" problem across the nation.