Grants boost general practice in the Riverina and Central West

12 July 2017

PATIENTS in Forbes, Parkes and Wagga Wagga will soon realise the benefits of improved facilities after several practices in the Riverina and Central West were successful in obtaining funding from the Federal Government according to Nationals’ MP and Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack.

“I’m really pleased four practices in the Riverina and Central West will collectively receive grant funding of more than half a million dollars,” Mr McCormack said.

The practices are amongst 67 that were offered grants across the nation, with a total of $13.1 million allocated under the Government’s Rural General Practice Grants program.

“This grant will enable Ochre Health in Parkes and the Forest Hill Medical Centre in Wagga Wagga to expand and improve their facilities, and also provide assistance to the Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre in Forbes to develop a holistic approach to Indigenous healthcare. Additionally, the Kooringal Medical Centre which I was pleased to visit recently has also been recommended for funding and negotiations with the Department of Health are continuing,” Mr McCormack said.

“Better facilities will allow more doctors, nurses and other health workers to get hands-on training in general practices in regional areas.

“They will be able to attend to patients and also, when they are fully qualified, are more likely to decide to stay in the region or another rural community.”

Assistant Minister for Health, David Gillespie, said practices would match the amount of their grants to undertake their projects.

Dr Gillespie said the projects could range from building new rooms to renovating existing rooms and buying computing technology or medical equipment.

“As well as medical graduates, they may be used for training overseas-trained doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers or other health professionals employed in the practice,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Other grants will be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.

“The Government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs.

“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”

Dom Hopkinson