COAG Health Services - Improving Access to Primary Care Services in Rural and Remote Areas

Communities of less than 7,000 people will have better access to health and medical professionals under a new Budget workforce initiative.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • Many people living in rural and remote areas throughout Australia face difficulties in gaining access to appropriate health professionals and health care services in their community. This initiative will enable Medicare benefits to be claimed for state-provided primary care services, including those based at hospitals, in some rural and remote areas. This will improve workforce retention, provide support for small rural hospitals and enhance services for patients.

Who will benefit?

  • This initiative will benefit rural populations of less than 7,000 which face a medical workforce shortage.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This measure forms part of the Government’s contribution to the COAG Health Services package, as announced on 10 February 2006.
  • The Government will provide ongoing funding through access to the Medical Benefits Scheme.

What have we done in the past?

  • The Commonwealth supports hospitals through funding to states and territories under the Australian Health Care Agreements. The Commonwealth also funds a number of measures aimed at increasing the medical workforce and health services in rural areas.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This is an ongoing initiative.

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