MORE doctors, nurses and other health professionals will complete their training in regional areas such as Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast as a result of $13 million in federal government funding for grants towards general practices in regional Australia.
Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, said grants of up to $300,000 have been offered to successful applicants across Australia to upgrade their facilities – to facilitate more training in country practice.
“These grants will enable more doctors and other health professionals to get their hands-on training in regional communities,” Mr Gillespie said.
“That provides an immediate benefit to the communities, with more health professionals available to attend to their needs.”
The grants will be used to expand practice facilities with additional consultation rooms and space to allow for more teaching. Grants will also be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.
“In the longer term, it also makes it more likely that junior doctors will choose to stay in these or other rural communities, when they are fully qualified.”
The grants must be matched by the selected practices. As well as construction or renovation, they may be spent on fit out, computing technology or medical equipment.
“The government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs,” Mr Gillespie said.
“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”