As border closures and population lock-downs limit the mobility of the health workforce, one doctor says the need in regional areas is more pronounced.
An unofficial call for more staff to assist Corowa Hospital was made by a nurse on social media, which facility manager Ann Turnbull said was due to two new employees being unable to start work because of the Victorian border being shut.
Corowa's emergency department is also staffed by visiting medical officers from the adjacent medical centre, owned by Ayon Guha.
Dr Guha said he had not noticed any change in recent weeks, but with the ageing population in and around Corowa, and "especially in COVID", the emergency department had seen more presentations.
"I've been here now five-and-a-half years and definitely, I can see in the last two years the demand on our resources has been increasing quite a lot," he said.
"It's not only nursing, it's medical staff as well and trying to get people to come to the country to work.
"That has always been a struggle and I think it will be a struggle in the future.
"Murrumbidgee Local Health District is definitely trying their best to source staff, by using agencies and other resources.
"With what is going on around the country at this stage, it's difficult."
Corowa ED is one of few that have all local VMOs on the roster, and Dr Guha said that was a positive.
The only complication experienced by the Corowa Medical Centre around border closures was when the NSW bubble shrunk to mere kilometres and doctors couldn't get to Rutherglen.
"Almost everyone was living outside that border bubble; we appealed to the health ministry and that was a nail-biting wait," Dr Guha said.
"I live across the border, it hasn't been a problem so far because they had made an exemption to critical services.
"Having said that, I had a contingency plan that if they didn't let me come in, I was going to park myself at one of my colleagues' houses.
"We are the only medical source here, and professional and morally you feel obliged to help.
"With the older generation, you can't really tell them, 'You go to Albury, Wodonga or Melbourne'. It's financially and logistically difficult."
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Dr Guha said many medical graduates out of the capital cities didn't know of Corowa.
"We have to improve the visibility of the region," he said.
"It is a beautiful region, it has got all these facilities, linked to the Hume Freeway and Melbourne is three hours away.
"And you don't have to pay for parking."
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