AN EXEMPTION for overseas practitioners willing to fill medical gaps in Rockhampton is not working, according to health experts.
The region desperately needs anesthetists, cardiologists and psychiatrists.
To receive a Medicare provider number, overseas doctors must commit to serving in regional or rural Australia for 10 years.
Committing to a regional area will reduce the 10-year moratorium by a year and working in very remote Australia will reduce the term by five years.
Grants and rebates worth up to $100,000 are on offer to Australian doctors willing to commit to regions struggling to fill medical gaps.
Rural Doctors Association of Australia president Professor Dennis Pashen said the Federal Government should focus its energy on getting Australian-trained medicos into the region.
"We know that if we bring in someone and say 'you're indentured labour for five or 10 years' where are they going to end up?
"They're going to end up back in their (cultural) communities in western Sydney or the outer suburbs of Brisbane."
"Often they drive in, drive out of the areas they are working in," Dr Pashen said of foreign-trained doctors.
""We want doctors who want to be there and they want to stay there for a long period of time."
WHAT WE NEED
Practitioners are needed in the following areas:
Source: Australian Government