Funding to attract more rural doctors
NEW funding to attract more doctors to country areas has been welcomed by the National Rural Health Alliance.
The government said it will deliver 3000 new specialist GPs, and 3000 additional nurses over 10 years mainly through providing end-to-end training in country areas.
“We are pleased the Federal Budget allocates $550 million over 10 years to help fill the health workforce gaps that exist in so many parts of country Australia,” said Alliance CEO Mark Diamond.
“It’s not only doctors and nurses that are missing outside major cities, equally there are not enough allied health professionals and some areas have no psychologists, no physiotherapists, no occupational therapists.”
A new workforce incentive program will provide some funds to general practices to employ more nurses, doctors and, for the first time, allied health workers.
“It’s the first step in increasing the very low numbers of allied health workers in rural and remote areas,” he said.
There is new funding of $105.7 million dollars to provide culturally appropriate aged care services in remote communities, through the existing Flexible Aged Care program.
There is also $35 million to fund a new MBS item covering delivery of dialysis by health workers in remote areas.
“Overall the budget allocated an extra $338.1 million in mental health funding and suicide prevention is a key focus, a particular mention was made of men over 85 having the highest risk of suicide, with $82.5 million earmarked for psychological services in residential aged care. Previously residents have not had access to government supported psych services,” Mr Diamond said.
BUDGET: Funding for rural health was announced.