Audit of health workforce shortage in rural and regional Australia
The Department of Health and Ageing is to undertake an audit of the shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia.
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10 December 2007
Following a request from the Prime Minister, I have asked my department to immediately begin an audit of the shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia.
The audit will examine the reasons for these shortages and will ensure a thorough picture is presented of this far-reaching problem. The audit will build on the work already conducted, but not released, by the previous Government.
The department will also provide advice on a range of options for attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Australia.
We know that there are medical workforce shortages across 74 per cent of Australia, affecting 59 per cent of the population.
I have asked my department for the audit and advice to be provided by the end of February 2008.
This audit is in addition to our commitments to reform the health and hospital system across the country, plus our detailed election commitments to improve services to rural and regional Australia including:
- The provision of at least 400 of the additional 1,000 nursing places the Government will offer each year under our $81 million nursing plan to universities offering clinical experience in regional and rural hospitals
- An additional $9 million over three years will be provided to support medical specialists delivering outreach services to rural and remote communities
- $2.5 million to double the number of John Flynn scholarships provided to medical students undertaking clinical placements in rural areas
- $6 million over 3 years for the Specialist Obstetrician Locum Scheme
- $2.5 million to establish a rural and remote clinical placement scheme for allied health students
- Upfront investments made under the Government’s National Health Reform Plan will be targeted at areas where need is high, particularly including rural and regional areas.
Contact: Sean Kelly 0417 108 362
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