System overhaul to focus on towns needing health workers

THE Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine has welcomed an announcement from Federal Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash about changes to workforce classification to encourage doctors to work outside big cities.

Senator Nash said the system, which deemed areas where medical workforce shortages existed, relied on outdated population data and did not accurately reflect needs in towns that had experienced recent population growth.

"The government is acting to address these problems by moving to a new District of Workforce Shortage system that will use the latest ABS population data and the most recent medical services data to more accurately determine which town is the most under-serviced," she said.

College president Professor Richard Murray said the announcement was an important development for rural and remote communities.

"We welcome the clear statement of support for rural generalist medicine by Minister Nash," he said.

"This is an example of good public policy in action. It will make it easier to attract doctors to where they are most needed in communities across rural and remote Australia."

- APN NEWSDESK


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