10 July 2023

More doctors for rural NSW: expanded employer model approved by Federal Government

| Jarryd Rowley
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team of doctors

Regional NSW is set for a boost to local GPs and emergency departments thanks to a new extended model approved by the Federal Government. Photo: Fly View Productions.

Rural areas are gearing up for access to more local GPs and emergency department doctors thanks to the Federal Government approving a new single employer model in New South Wales.

The expanded model offers a tailored pathway for doctors wanting to become rural generalists during their training in public health facilities and private GP practices.

Rural generalists are practitioners who provide primary care services and emergency medicine, and are also trained in other skills such as obstetrics, anaesthetics or mental health services, in order to ensure rural areas have access to a wider range of services.

The NSW Government expects the model will improve access to healthcare services in remote areas, so more people in regional NSW are able to access medical care close to home.

The initiative will commence at the beginning of the 2024 training year.

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Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler said the single employer model is an innovative approach that should help to attract and retain doctors in rural areas needed to provide essential primary healthcare services into the future.

The model has been expanded based on a trial program in the Murrumbidgee region.

“We’ve seen the positive impact the single employer model has made to the availability of healthcare services in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District,” Mr Butler said.

“This innovative program will make training and working in rural general practice a more attractive option for young doctors and importantly it will make it easier for people in regional New South Wales to see a doctor close to home.”

The new initiative aims to make the Rural Generalist Training Pathway a more attractive option to junior doctors.

With the potential influx of practitioners, the NSW Government is looking to provide further training to potential rural generalists in obstetrics, anaesthetics or mental health services on top of their primary care services and emergency medicine-related skills.

The NSW Government is hoping the newly formulated training will ensure that GPs have the appropriate skills to practice in rural settings and an understanding of the individual needs of regional and remote communities.

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NSW Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said recruitment and retention of a primary health workforce has been a major challenge for regional, rural, and remote NSW and addressing this is a priority for the State Government.

“This partnership with the Commonwealth Government means more of our regional and rural communities are set to benefit,” Mr Park said.

“We welcome this opportunity to improve access to primary care and essential medical services.

“This announcement by Minister Butler will ensure the creation of attractive and secure training opportunities to foster the next generation of rural generalist doctors in NSW.”

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