Communities and GP practices right across Grey will have a new incentive to help recruit doctors, following changes announced this week by the Federal Government and warmly welcomed by the Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey
“From January 1 next year the Government will add to the incentives on offer for medical graduates and nurse practitioners, to start working outside the metro area by writing-off HELP debts at varying rates depending on location,” Mr Ramsey said. “It’s a great idea that a number of us have been backing for some time.
“Depending on the remoteness classification of the area graduates choose to work in, they can have their debt waivered in some cases by working half the length of time it took to complete their degree, in other less remote locations they will be committed to work the full length of their degree.”
“There are a number of communities across Grey who have lost doctors and are experiencing chronic nurse shortages.
“Doctor shortages are an issue I have been raising for some time, but it is a multi-faceted problem with no easy answers. It has been taken incredibly seriously by the Government and over the last five years we have committed $1.3bn to address the problem.
“Some of the measures, particularly those targeting trainee doctors who want to work in regional practice have been effective, but have a very long time-line.
“However this move on the HELP debts is a “here and now” measure and can have an immediate impact.
“This program begins from 1 January 2022 and I know local practices will be working hard to take full advantage of this significant change.”
The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification identifies locations in Australia with a shortage of doctors.
This change gives automatic access to the DPA classification for regional and larger rural towns (MMM 3-4) to make it easier for areas to recruit more doctors.
All of Grey is eligible for the HELP debt incentives.
Students who accepted a Commonwealth Supported Place in an Australian medical course in return for a commitment to work in a regional, rural and remote area at the end of their studies will be eligible.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said the Government is acutely aware of the maldistribution of health workforce around the country and is implementing this range of policies to get more GPs, nurses and allied health professionals to areas where they are needed.
“This is just another measure that our government is using to attract more GPs to regional areas,” he said.
“Incentivising doctors and nurse practitioners to live and work outside of metropolitan areas will help improve access to quality health care for regional, rural and remote communities.”
Media contacts: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744
Dec 9 2021