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3 October 2014
Australians living in seven rural and remote communities across New South Wales will now have better access to health care and improved services through an initiative aimed at overcoming shortages of rural doctors and other health professionals.
The Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, said today that in recognition of the doctor shortages in rural and remote areas of NSW, the Australian Government, in agreement with the NSW Government, has granted a special exemption which allows seven more hospitals and health services to engage rural doctors and other health professionals and bulk bill Medicare for the cost.
“These services provided in the public health sector do not normally attract a Medicare subsidy and the cost is borne by the local health services. This important initiative supports small public hospitals and health services to attract and retain health professionals, while ensuring patients are able to access primary health care services locally, including after hours,” Minister Nash said.
“Today, a total of 53 hospitals and community health services across Australia, including 11 in NSW, can now bulk bill for important primary health care services.
“For a hospital or health service to be eligible, local GPs and GP groups must support the exemption application. Communities must also have a shortage of GPs and be in a rural or remote area with a population of less than 7000,” Minister Nash said.
State and territory governments with active agreements for this programme are responsible for implementing the initiative.
The seven new services that have received exemptions are:
- Coolamon Multipurpose Service
- Culcairn Multipurpose Service
- Dungog Community Hospital
- Gundagai Health (Multipurpose) Service
- Hillston Hospital and Health Service
- Jerilderie Hospital and Health Service
- Wilson Memorial Hospital Murrurundi & Murrurundi Community Health Centre