“As of today, medical practices in 220 rural and remote communities will be automatically guaranteed access to an extra pool of doctors which capital city practices can’t hire “
Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash
Some 464 rural and remote communities will find it easier to attract GPs as of today, and 220 of those communities will now be assumed to have a shortage of GPs, Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash has announced.
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“While capital cities have an oversupply of GPs, most country areas do not have enough,” Minister Nash said.
“As of today, medical practices in 220 rural and remote communities will be automatically guaranteed access to an extra pool of doctors which capital city practices can’t hire.
“These areas outside capital cities will be automatically classed as having as having a shortage of General Practice Doctors, making them a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) and giving them access to the extra doctors.
“These DWS areas will no longer need to waste time filling out paperwork to prove they have a shortage of GPs. They will no longer have to wait months until they can prove a doctor has left the area before recruiting another.
“Medical practices in these areas will be able to hire GPs who were trained overseas and who have passed an Australian equivalent exam. Typically, for their first ten years of practice in Australia, overseas trained doctors are unable to access Medicare services unless they work where there is a shortage of doctors – which effectively means country areas.
“Today, the Department of Health has also granted an extra 244 communities DWS status under the population to GP ratio.
“The shortage of doctors outside capital cities is one the biggest issues in my portfolio of rural health. As a rural person myself, I’m determined to get more doctors to country areas.
“In the past 12 months, we’ve injected $50 million into bigger incentives to support doctors to practice in rural and remote Australia and announced $238.4 million to teach more doctors in the bush.
“With the change I’m announcing today, more rural and regional communities will get access to more doctors.”
List of localities attached.