Media event date: 
25 October 2019
Date published: 
28 October 2019
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Liberal and Nationals Government’s focus on improving rural, regional and remote health will continue with the re-appointment today of National Rural Health Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Paul Worley.

Minister for Regional Services and Decentralisation Mark Coulton made the announcement today in front of hundreds of rural health professionals at the Rural Medicines Conference on the Gold Coast.

“Professor Worley will continue to work with regional, rural and remote communities and other stakeholders to improve rural health policies and champion rural practice,” Minister Coulton said.

“I’m delighted to announce Professor Worley’s reappointment to this important role to 30 June 2020.

“He has already achieved a great deal in this role, including brokering a landmark agreement on what it means to practice Rural Generalist Medicine, and providing advice to Government on the development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway.”

Minister Coulton said the Liberal and Nationals Government’s 2019–20 Budget announced $62.2 million over four years to commence the first stage of the National Rural Generalist Pathway.

“Professor Worley and his staff have been instrumental in developing the framework for this pathway; which will attract, retain and support doctors in regional, rural and remote areas,” Minister Coulton said.

“The Pathway will bridge a gap by integrating rural training for General Practice, Emergency and Additional Skills into a single training program to provide certainty and make it easier for trainees to choose rural generalism when considering their career options.

“Until now, there’s never been a national training pathway, like what’s offered in other areas of medicine, for rural generalism.

“We are on track for the first elements to commence in 2020 and as announced in last year’s Budget, an additional 100 Rural Generalist training positions will also commence in 2021. We are also progressing options to consider how a single employer model can also support the Pathway.

Expanding rural training will ensure there is pipeline of rural generalists coming through to support a viable and sustainable workforce into the long term,” Minister Coulton said.
The National Rural Health Commissioner helps to bring to Government key issues in rural communities and plays an important role contributing to meaningful policy reform.

“I look forward to working further with Professor Worley on initiatives to improve the quality, distribution and access to allied health services in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The establishment of the Commissioner’s role and office is a key part of the Coalition Government’s agenda and we support its continued function.

With plenty more work to be done to improve rural health outcomes the Commissioner will play an important role advocating for local communities and providing advice to government into the future.”