To the Editor: In 1997 an analysis of the medical workforce in North Queensland showed that Townsville's 125 000 people were served by about 180 GPs providing about 120 full-time-equivalent (FTE) GP workloads. A doctor–population ratio (DPR) of about 1: 1000 was evidence of some sort that the community was reasonably well served, at least according to benchmarks of the time. As a result, the "area of need" status was removed from many North Queensland centres, a decision reinforced by similar findings from the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC) report released soon after.1 Further, the AMWAC report was the basis of a decision not to increase the number of GP vocational training places in the region, even though there is spare capacity and the program is one of the more successful in terms of retention of rural GPs.2
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.