Delivering better access to doctors in regional areas
People in rural communities will have improved access to doctors and shorter waiting times after the Liberal and Nationals Government announced a $62.2 million investment to fast track the National Rural Generalist Pathway program.
“People in Wide Bay shouldn’t have to accept poorer access to doctors just because they live outside the capital cities,” Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said.
“This funding will help deliver more rural generalist doctors into rural and regional areas like Wide Bay, improving access to general practitioners in smaller communities.”
The program will fund initiatives such as coordinated training for rural generalists, expansion of the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund to provide more early exposure to rural training and seeking sub-specialty recognition of rural generalism through the Medical Board of Australia.
Mr O’Brien said today’s announcement built on the Liberal and Nationals Government’s commitment to redress the provision of health services in Australia.
“As part of the Liberal and Nationals Government, I am pleased we are fulfilling our election commitment to deliver a pathway and start implementing reforms recommended by the National Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley,” he said.
Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the 2019-20 Budget investment will be delivered over four years.
“Australia has the medical workforce, the issue is how that workforce is distributed,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The government is investing in pathways to get Australian doctors into those difficult-to-serve parts of the country.
“Rural generalists play a key role providing rural and remote Australians access health services by providing general practice, emergency care and other specialist services in hospitals and in the community.
“More rural generalists in rural and remote areas means enhanced access to services and better health outcomes for these communities.”
Professor Paul Worley formed the National Rural Generalist Pathway Taskforce which appointed working groups and expert reference groups to help develop the pathway.
The taskforce presented its advice to the Rural Health Commissioner on 21 December 2018 with 19 recommendations.