Local community services are tired of their clients having no GPs to see and are taking matters into their own hands.
The Gunnedah Community Roundtable will make a submission to the NSW Parliament's inquiry into 'health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote New South Wales'.
At the November roundtable meeting, members from health, mental health, employment and Indigenous sectors discussed the lack of doctors in town and the difficulty of accessing services as a new patient.
Everyone had personal troubles in getting health advice or had seen their clients have issues, and wrote down each of the barriers preventing access - while also making suggestions for how to fix them.
It will all be collated into a submission to the inquiry, member Mel McCulloch said.
"We're really hoping to be able to put in the voices of the people we work with [because] some of the people that come to us through our service ... are not able to access basic medical care," Ms McCulloch said.
"I'm hoping that to start with at least we get a say and that we can see some innovation and some thinking outside the box because rural and regional communities are different.
"You can't just go and see a GP and say 'I don't like that one, I'll go and see another one'."
Fellow roundtable member, Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre's Kate McGrath, said that in Australia, in 2020, lack of access "should not be a thing".
"We often trust our government representatives to have a voice on our behalf. The situation at the moment demonstrates that that's perhaps not being done very effectively, so this inquiry is a great opportunity for the community to have their voices heard directly," Ms McGrath said.
"I just really hope that through this inquiry, the disparities between city and country are really highlighted and that there is a commitment to not let that gap widen any further and addressing the fact that country people face barriers to basic healthcare."
One major change the roundtable members all agreed easier access to a mental health care plan was needed.
At the moment, those seeking a plan need to see their GP before they're referred on, but Ms McCulloch and Ms McGrath say it would be helpful if they simply saw a psychologist or social worker straight away.
"People trying to get mental health plans ... have to see a GP and that's a huge barrier sometimes when they can't get [an appointment] so those barriers being put in place mean that it ripples out of the whole system and people are not getting good care and ending up in crisis or mental health facilities," Ms McCulloch told the NVI.
Another idea was for those with recurring prescriptions could attend a chemist straight away to get their medication without having to see a GP first.
Submissions to the inquiry close on December 13.