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13 May 2008
Working families in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas will benefit from 31 new GP Super Clinics as the Rudd Labor Government delivers another election health promise.
Our improvements to rural, regional and outer metropolitan health services mean working families will receive health care where and when they need it, no matter where they choose to live.
Rural, regional and outer metropolitan communities are entitled to the best health care we can provide, which is why we’re investing $275.2 million over five years on 31 GP Super Clinics across Australia, providing families with one convenient location where they can access a range of health services.
The GP Super Clinics will bring together general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, some specialists and other health care providers to deliver a range of health services that are tailored to meet local health needs and priorities. GP Super Clinics will complement and enhance existing health services in their local areas.
They will also provide teaching rooms and facilities to enable trainees to undertake on the job training and clinical placements. The high quality facilities, flexible working arrangements and opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams will help attract new young graduates to areas of workforce shortage.
Funding for each GP Super Clinic includes capital funding for the construction of a new building or refurbishment of an existing facility, some limited recurrent funding and relocation incentives for eligible health practitioners.
Other health funding for rural and regional areas includes:
- The Government will spend $4.6 million over four years to place an extra 600 medical students for part of their training in rural or remote communities, as part of the Rural Health – Additional funding for the John Flynn Placement Program. This will double the number of medical students participating in the Program from 600 to 1,200 over four years.
If students have a positive clinical experience in a rural and regional area during their degree they are more likely to return to a rural or regional area once they have graduated.
- The Government is investing $2.5 million over three years to provide rural clinical placement scholarships to help boost the number of allied health care workers in rural areas. The scholarships help allied health students meet reasonable travel and accommodation costs incurred while undertaking a rural clinical placement.
- The Rural Health – Additional funding for the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program will receive new funding of $9.0 million over three years to help tackle the higher burden of disease for people in rural and remote communities.
- Women in rural areas will receive more access to quality obstetric care through the Government’s $5.9 million over three years funding increase for the Rural Health – Specialist Obstetrician Locum Scheme. This measure will help address inequalities in accessing rural obstetric care: while nearly 30 per cent of babies in Australia are born in rural areas, only 16 per cent of Australia’s obstetricians practise in rural areas.
Better locum services will help rural obstetricians to maintain services, encourage others to begin a career in rural areas, and reduce the financial and administrative difficulties experienced by rural communities in need of locum support.
- The Government will invest $35 million over four years to increase the number and value of postgraduate mental health nurse and psychology scholarships. The initiative will provide more than 1000 postgraduate scholarships for mental health nurses, with about 100 designated for rural and remote areas, and more than 200 postgraduate scholarships for rural and regional psychologists.
- Fifteen locations around the country are to get Medicare-eligible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) units, giving patients and communities convenient and affordable access to this important diagnostic tool. The Government is committing an additional $51.4 million over four years for the cost of Medicare-eligibility for 12 MRI units.
- A National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program will be established to provide better access to funding for infrastructure through a competitive grants process. It will amalgamate the Rural Medical Infrastructure Fund and the Rural Private Access Program.
These initiatives are on top of the Government’s investment in up to 50,000 additional health vocational training places to tackle the health workforce crisis. The training places will target areas of chronic skills shortage, such as dental health, nursing and Indigenous health.
Media inquiries only: Sean Kelly – 0417 108 362
For all other inquiries please contact the Minister's office – 02 6277 7220