Health: Health workers in short supply at SA tourism hotspots during national shortage

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Some regional locations in South Australia are struggling to retain health workers and provide consistent services despite being considered world class tourism destinations.

Clare Hospital has experienced a high turnover of staff, and Kangaroo Island midwifery services have been suspended due to a lack of appropriate personnel.

South Australian Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton said some towns would struggle more than others to secure the workers they need.

"Workforce is difficult across some regional areas, but I would have thought that many of our regional areas would be less difficult than others to attract people to," he said.

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Clare GP and Rural Doctors Association of SA vice president Dr Gerry Considine said the town was a "very picturesque part of the world, not too far from Adelaide".

"We shouldn't have too much issues attracting nurses and doctors to the Clare region," he said.

But Clare Hospital has had three nursing and midwifery directors in three years, along with temporary appointments during that time.

A national shortage

Yorke and Northern Health Network chief executive officer Roger Kirchner said there was a national shortage of people who could fill the role.

"Recruitment and retention of the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Clare Hospital has faced the same challenges experienced as many rural areas due to a nationwide shortage of health workers, " he said.

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The hospital was able to fill the role last year. A spokesperson said the new director had provided stability and structure to the role and was passionate about working in and contributing to the community.

But Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars was concerned about other locations as well.

"We know that other beautiful areas such as Kangaroo Island are also struggling and they've recently had to suspend their midwifery services as a direct result of that," she said.

The Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network is working to fill two critical roles required for women to be able to birth on the island and plans to return birthing services by January 2023.

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