The average distance to the nearest doctor is more than 9km in some metropolitan areas, according to new data from the Australian Urban Observatory.
Often found on city fringes, these areas also tend to have worse access to other social infrastructure, such as education, transport, community and sporting facilities, and emergency services.
Associate Prof Melanie Davern, the director of the Australian Urban Observatory, says the issue is at least partly to do with how we plan our cities.
“We don’t have planners working with the health system – this is the major problem. We don’t think about an urban system. We just have a planning department, a health department and a transport department. But they are not really connected,” she says.
“Because [planning is] population based, [those outer areas] are never going to see improved access to things like GPs.”
Tamborine Mountain lies to the south of Brisbane and its residents have an average distance to a doctor of almost 8km. It scores 0 out of 16 on the Urban Observatory’s “social infrastructure index”, which counts many of the services above.
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