From the Newsroom

Residents voice concerns amidst local health crisis

Emma Pritchard


As the health crisis in the Clarence Valley continues, we went out into our community and asked residents if they experience any difficulties when booking an appointment to see their local GP.

Em McCarthy: It’s beyond a joke. I have three kids under the age of 10, and I usually have to wait anywhere from one to three weeks before I can get one of them an appointment to see our local GP. As a parent, I want to do anything I can for my kids. I’m very proactive when it comes to their health and wellbeing, but I feel like I’m failing them because I can’t get them medical attention straight away when they get sick.   

Kim Doyle: My elderly parents are forced to wait a month or more until they can get in to see their local doctors. The ratio between doctors and the Clarence Valley population is completely off balance. In recent times, we have seen so much focus go towards infrastructure to support the aging population in the area, specifically for the over 55 age group, that the requirement of having medical professionals to look after them has been completely overlooked. The Coalition did nothing about it for years and now they’re screaming at the ALP and the Prime Minister to fix the problem. My concern is how many people, specifically older people, in our community will continue to have their health and medical needs jeopardised before something is done. 

Tayla Balfour: I had to wait over six weeks to get an appointment to see my doctor earlier this year. Even though my case wasn’t urgent, I still couldn’t believe it took so long. My sister had to wait over five weeks until she could see her doctor, and our grandparents normally have to wait between three and six weeks until they can get appointments as well. My grandparents are really stressed out because they have ongoing health issues, and waiting to see their doctors only causes them more stress.

Will Kennewell: My partner and I had talked about moving to Grafton this year, but none of the medical centres we reached out to are taking new patients. It’s frustrating, especially since we’ve got four young kids. We’ve had to rethink our plans because we don’t want to live in an area that’s experiencing a health crisis. We thought our biggest hurdle would be finding a house in Grafton, but it’s proved harder to find a doctor.