NSW Rural Doctors Network CEO Richard Colbran says the inability to attract general practitioners to the regions has medical staff concerned about the “sustainability and viability of rural health services”.

Years of drought, bushfires, floods, plagues and now COVID has left rural NSW battered and bruised, leaving the health system in the regions “stretched to their absolute limit”.

Speaking to Sky News Australia, Mr Colbran said: “We’ve got great concerns about the sustainability and viability of rural health services just generally”.

“A lot of attention at the moment is obviously going to COVID, our health workforce, our health workers are on the back of three or four years of incredible stress and strain.

“You think of drought, you think of bushfire, you think a bit of flood, throw in the mice and now COVID, and we’re seeing groups and teams of people that are stretched to their absolute limit; they’re very strong and they’re trying.

“But we know when we come through this period with COVID, we’re going to have to go into a period of probably two to three years of paying attention to retaining those that are there, given them a chance to have a break, to take respite and to recover so that they can be fully charged for the years ahead.”

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