Wheatbelt GPs say they have had to turn away more than a hundred patients and throw out thousands of dollars of vital medication after ongoing power outages created “unliveable conditions”. Rachel and Michael Livingston, who operate nine general practices across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern, have laid bare the huge cost of the outages, three days after they were cut off. Business director Rachel and Narambeen GP Michael told how they worked tirelessly to stay open but, with no power, mobile service or water, had been forced to close their doors. After power outages hit on Wednesday night, the couple and their staff scrambled to keep the practices open, using their remaining mobile phone batteries to hot spot the devices needed to service patients. The three doctors on shift, who worked through sweltering conditions across the Wheatbelt practices as temperatures exceeded 30C, managed to see about 30 patients each. “By midday it was so unbearably hot the patients and staff were all wet with sweat,” Ms Livingston said. Not even a generator could save the day, as petrol stations were forced to close their doors too due to the power outage. Despite attempting to work in the brutal conditions, they were forced to close practices in Lake Grace, Newdegate and Narembeen when the mobile network went down. Without access to drug databases, they were unable to safely undertake basic functions like writing prescriptions. Pharmacies were also closed leaving patients no access to medications regardless. “Our doctors had worked for as long as possible until we just had to say, we can’t actually stay without sleeping showering or eating,” Ms Livingston said. “If the doctors can’t eat, wash, sleep or survive, then there’s no medical help for anyone.” They’ve since turned away “well over” 160 patients across the three practices. Dr Livingston said, although critical infrastructure like hospitals had been prioritised, it had been a oversight to leave vital primary healthcare services in the dark — as they are the services taking pressure off hospital emergency departments. “We’re feeling rather unsupported by (government), State and Federal,” he said. “There’s been no outreach or support, it’s been radio silence — it’s the reward for working rural, we’ve been left on our own. There’s not even fuel available to power the generator. “Amongst the priority list, we aren’t on it. I don’t think that’s acceptable, there has to be as much priority for rural as there is metro.” In a further blow amid trying circumstances, Dr Livingston said they have had to throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of medications and vaccines. “Various medicines and vaccines across our sites have been affected, they need to remain fresh and refrigerated,” Dr Livingston said. “But there’s been numerous power breaches over seven days prior to this huge outage.” While Western Power has doubled its outage relief payment to $240, Ms Livingston said it was nowhere near enough. “I’m hoping the government can step up and identify there are thousands of businesses that have been affected and provide some sort of emergency relief,” she said. “We stayed for as long as we possibly could seeing patients in the practice, whilst sweating profusely. Where do we find the finances to pay our staff after the huge losses?” The couple and their 10-month-old baby have since left for Perth, in search of a shower, food and a cool room to sleep. “Three days of not washing, food going bad and not being able to cook for a 10-month-old baby, we have had to leave,” Ms Livingston said. “Some people can’t even leave because there’s no fuel — we are the lucky ones who had enough fuel and money to leave.” The pair said they worried for certain groups, particularly the elderly, who would be suffering through the crisis. “It’s just not fair that people here have nowhere to go,” Ms Livingston said. “Why do people who live in the bush matter less than people who live in a regional place or city? It’s because there’s less people there and less votes. “Living in the bush shouldn’t be a punishment, it’s a beautiful lifestyle, but when things like this happen it feels like a punishment ... unlivable conditions.” Western Power said about 5500 customers in the Perth Hills and Wheatbelt were without power on Friday afternoon.