A long wait for treatment

A long wait for treatment

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AUSTRALIANS living in rural areas wait an average of six days to see their preferred GP compared with 3.1 days in metropolitan areas.

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AUSTRALIANS living in rural areas wait an average of six days to see their preferred GP compared with 3.1 days in metropolitan areas.

This stark disparity was highlighted by data from the 2013 Medicine in Australia, Balancing Employment and Life survey.

Northern Sydney patients were likely to see their own general practitioner (GP) within 1.5 days while patients in New England waited an average of 13.8 days, the worst performing region nationally.

Wait times for doctors in Glen Innes were more than 14 days at the time of the survey, according to Mayor Colin Price.

Cr Price said in 2013, Glen Innes was suffered a "worrying" shortage of doctors which meant new residents in the area had limited access to local doctors because many weren't seeing new patients.

"For the past 10 years we had been well served but suddenly we hit a wall because many of our GPs began their retirement," Cr Price said.

The situation has since eased but The Land's inquiries established it could still take up to three weeks to secure a non-urgent appointment with a doctor who worked on a part-time basis.

The Western and Far West regions didn't fare much better in the survey.

Patients' wait time ran to 12.1 and 11.9 days to see their preferred GP in 2013.

In the Far West it took patients an average 4.6 days to see a doctor.

In Western Sydney, it took an average of just half a day.

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