Announcements alone won't fix rural doctor shortage: RDAA
ADDRESSING the shortage of doctors where they are needed most - in rural and remote communities - will require more than just funding announcements, the Rural Doctors Association has warned.
After Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash announced $3.8 million in funding for a new rural clinical school in Wagga, the industry has responded, saying the government needs to focus on the "big picture".
Despite promises early in the government's term that problems in the rural incentive classification scheme would be addressed, the RDAA is still waiting for action.
Association president Dr Ian Kamerman said on Tuesday while investing in rural medical training was important, it was not a "panacea in itself".
He said there was now an urgent need for the government to start "ticking some boxes" on the bigger issues, and to resolve controversial parts of the May budget.
"Importantly, for best results, the rural medical workforce pipeline needs to be considered in its entirety," Dr Kamerman said.
"Until the whole pipeline is fixed, it is going to continue to leak at various points along the way and carry potential future rural doctors back to the city with the run-off."
The association has been pushing for the incentives scheme for several years to no avail, but it is not also asking the government to reinstate the general practice placements scheme, which was abolished in the budget.