|A re-elected Morrison Government will invest more than $1billion to boost rural health, including an additional $146 million in new funding to inject more doctors and allied health professionals into regional and rural communities improving treatment and care for patients.
These investments are part of the Coalition’s 10-year Stronger Rural Health Strategy which is already delivering more doctors and nurses into rural communities and training the next generation of country doctors.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the Government is building further on those key initiatives to target regional, rural and remote communities with immediate health workforce needs.
“The rural doctor shortage is acute in areas of Grey and I am committed to the development of pathways to support a strong and viable medical workforce in the region,” he said.
“We are determined to get health professionals to regional areas and are supporting the placement of more junior doctors and medical students in regional areas through the $15 million expansion of the John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Program.
“This will see more than 1,000 placements in rural Australia per year by 2026 and train the next generation of junior doctors through placements in rural and regional general practice and prime them ready for the Australian General Practice Training Program.
“There is added support for hospitals to train medical staff in essential emergency services, including smaller hospitals.
“I am very pleased with the $35 million in new funding to significantly expand the successful Innovative Models of Collaborative Care program across rural and regional Australia from 1 January 2023 and I am confident some of our practices will be able establish a wrap around employment proposals on the back of it.”
“Added to this Federal and State collaboration of a single employer model will enable interns, junior doctors and registrars to access leave such as maternity, paternity, sick and long-service leave whilst on placement as they decide which town they want to work in.
“This will allow more doctors training to be rural generalist GPs to work to the full scope of their skills and provide community and hospital-based services such as anaesthetics, obstetrics, mental health and emergency medicine.
“We are also incentivising more young doctors to work rurally. The Coalition introduced the elimination of the HELP debt for eligible doctors and nurse practitioners who work in rural towns and remote and very remote communities for specified periods.”
“The opening up of MRI licences will be a game changer. I have worked previuosly with private operators wanting to set a service but simply could not without the licence. Hopefully it will lead to services in all the major centres.”
This builds on our $550 million investment in the Stronger Rural Health Strategy announced in the 2018–19 budget and the approximately $300 million of additional investments in the recent 2022-23 Budget, including:
· $99.3 million for 80 additional Commonwealth Supported Places so more students can study medicine at rural campuses;
· $66 million to make it easier and more affordable to access Medicare funded MRI scans in all regional, rural and remote Australia from 1 November 2022;
· $14.8 million to support Charles Sturt University to deliver a Rural Clinical School. We are also continuing support for the National Rural Health Students Network of Rural Health Clubs with $2.1 million over four years;
· An additional $33.3 million over four years towards a 10-year strategic agreement with the Royal Flying Doctor Service worth almost $1 billion
Telehealth has been made permanent and universal with 100 million new services to over 17 million people since its introduction in March 2020 with an investment of over $5 billion.
“Since launching the Stronger Rural Health Strategy in the 2018-19 Budget, the Coalition has already placed more than 5,000 full-time equivalent GPs, nurses and allied health professionals in rural, regional and remote Australia.”
Media contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744 May 5 2022