A PEAK medical body will lobby for more general practitioners to be trained in regional areas in this year's federal budget.
Central Victoria is among regions struggling to get enough GPs, the head of of the Australian Medical Association's Victoria branch said.
"The pay is not as good right now, so we are finding trainees are less inclined to come out to GP practices, which can't compare with training at public hospitals, for example," Julian Rait said.
The AMA launched its 2020 vision for doctors on Friday, at the tail-end of a tough year for many whose communities have battled drought, fire and floods.
Next year will see a campaign for more money to help medical graduates hoping to hone skills and become general practitioners outside of hospitals, Professor Rait said.
That strategy will be shaped in the new year and be deployed in the lead up to the federal budget, which is normally handed down in May.
Bendigo has seen GP shortages, with people reporting difficulties getting doctors and with long waiting lists, Professor Rait said.
"It's not just Bendigo, though, it's all of rural Victoria. And we know that not having a doctor is of significant detriment to people's general health," he said.
The AMA also wants to use 2019 to fight shortages of medical specialists like psychologists and ear, nose and throat specialists, he said.
"They have been areas that need to be more properly funded."
Some people in Bendigo have waited years for access to ENT specialists.
One resident, Sarah Hindson was first put on a public waiting list in mid-2014 and was still to see a specialist in April 2019.
"I'm happy to wait my turn but this is ridiculous," she said at the time.
"Bendigo is not a hick town in the middle of nowhere. How can there be no specialist here?
"I'm not just concerned for me. There would obviously be people who are worse than me on the waiting list."
The AMA will also push for "significantly more funding" for rural hospitals, as well as increased support for the families of doctors working in country Australia, AMA president Tony Bartone said.
"Almost one-third of Australians live outside cities," he said.
"They have higher rates of major diseases like cancer and diabetes, they access Medicare at lower rates than their city cousins, and often have to travel long distances for extended periods to receive appropriate specialised care.
"It's no surprise, then, that they experience worse health outcomes generally than metropolitan Australians. They deserve better and should expect equity in access."
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