The Albanese Government will undertake a wide-ranging review to urgently investigate how to more equitably distribute doctors and other health workers around the country.
The Working Better for Medicare Review will look at how current policies and programs can be strengthened to make it easier to see a doctor, nurse or other health worker in the outer suburbs of our major cities and in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The Review will look at Medicare’s role in locating the workforce, as well as the three main policy levers used to distribute the workforce:
- Modified Monash Model,
- District of Workforce Shortage, and
- Distribution Priority Area.
The Working Better for Medicare Review will identify ways to improve health access for Australians, by building a more stable, motivated, and properly located workforce.
The aim is to have an appropriately located workforce, particularly in areas that find it difficult to attract and keep doctors, so that all Australians can access the care they need, when they need it, regardless of where they choose to live.
The Working Better for Medicare Review will be led by nurse, advocate and remote health expert Professor Sabina Knight, and former senior health bureaucrat and academic Mick Reid.
The Review will be underpinned by extensive stakeholder engagement, with findings expected to be provided to government in mid-2024.
The Working Better for Medicare Review will build on other work to strengthen Medicare, like Professor Mark Cormack’s “Unleashing the Potential of Our Health Workforce”, which will ensure that – wherever they work – every health professional can provide every bit of their skills, training and experience.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“When we came to government, nine years of cuts and neglect to Medicare meant it had never been harder or more expensive to see a doctor, particularly for people in rural and regional Australia.”
“The largest investment in bulk billing in the history of Medicare is making it cheaper to see a doctor and the Working Better for Medicare Review will make it easier to get in to see one.”
“The levers we have to spread doctors and health workers around the country are from a very different time, before the COVID pandemic and the global health workforce crunch.”
“The Albanese Government will use all possible levers to encourage doctors and other health workers to be where patients need them to be – outside of cities and in areas of need.”
“I am delighted that Mick and Sabina, two expert, independent reviewers, have accepted my invitation to guide the review and look forward to the outcomes of this important work.”