Government committed to improving healthcare in Riverina and Central West, says McCormack

THE Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says Australians living in rural and regional areas will be the big winners from two recent Government health sector announcements.

The Liberals and Nationals’ Government has opened the second round for its Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF).

It comes after the announcement of Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner – Emeritus Professor Paul Worley.

Mr McCormack said the Government was committed to improving access to health services in the Riverina and Central West.

“The appointment of Professor Paul Worley as Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner shows the Government is dedicated to providing the framework to boost the standard of healthcare in rural and regional Australia,” Mr McCormack said.

“Professor Worley will work closely with health professionals and stakeholders to achieve this goal.

“The Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund will help bring young doctors in their intern year to the Riverina and Central West to help stem the shortfall in the medical workforce in rural Australia.”

The University of Notre Dame’s Associate Dean Rural, Associate Professor Joe McGirr – who is based at the Wagga Wagga Rural Clinical School – welcomed the appointment of Professor Worley.

“I’m looking forward to working with Professor Worley,” Professor McGirr said.

“I congratulate the Government on taking this step.”

Professor McGirr also commended the Liberals and Nationals’ Government on the RJDTIF.

“The program will provide more young doctors with the chance to experience providing general practice to rural people and communities,” he said.

Federal Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie said there was strong demand from the first round of the RJDTIF.

“The program is designed so that rural based junior doctors completing their intern year can gain experience in rural general practice, in addition to their hospital based rotations,” Dr Gillespie said.

“This will improve the pathway for new graduates into challenging and rewarding careers as doctors with the skills rural communities need,” Dr Gillespie said.

Up to $18.6 million is available through the RJDTIF to support training in a variety of primary care settings, such as general practice and Aboriginal Medical Services.

The funds from the program can be used towards:

·         Intern salary, whilst the junior doctor is working in the primary care setting;

·         Clinical supervision and support costs during the primary care rotation;

·         Administration and education support and education materials linked to training in the primary care setting;

·         Reasonable travel and accommodation;

·         Minor contributions to furnishing an office for the intern at the rotation location, where necessary; and

·         Minor training related infrastructure for the primary care setting.

More Information on the RJDTIF is available on the Department of Health website.

Shane Manning