Funding for a stronger regional health workforce

Regional South Australians will enjoy better and more sustainable health care thanks to a significant Marshall Liberal Government investment in rural health professionals.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade today announced more than $2 million will be delivered immediately through the Rural Health Workforce Strategy to fast track priority projects to grow and strengthen our regional workforce.

“Our rural and regional communities were neglected under the previous Labor Government,” Minister Wade said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government will better support the health needs of our regions with a $20 million commitment to develop our rural health workforce over four years.

“We want to empower our country clinicians and this plan is an important step to attract more health professionals to the regions.”

The first-year investments announced today were priorities identified by clinicians through broad consultation.

Minister Wade said key to the recruitment and retention of health professionals is ensuring they get the support they need, when and where they need it.

“To that end, a significant portion of the first-year investment is $840,000 to deliver direct support for clinicians through an expanded Digital Telehealth Network (DTN),” Mr Wade said.

“This means a majority of country hospitals will have access to high quality technology providing a network of support across the State.

"The digital network will expand remote assistance to country clinicians, particularly by giving them access to specialist support and MedStar retrieval teams.

“The Government is committed to supporting advanced skills training for health workers, given the reliance of country hospitals on GPs for medical services.

“In addition to funding front-line initiatives immediately, a specific rural generalist pathway project team is being formed to develop a long-term plan and broker the partnerships that will make a plan work.  

“The project team is an investment to get the foundations right. The team will operate under the guidance of Dr Hendrika Meyer and work with a broad-based steering committee.”

Other investments include:

  • $200,000 for simulation and training equipment
  • $180,000 for mental health education for suicide prevention and patient management
  • $370,000 to improve services for long-term, high-quality maternity care
  • $260,000 for further specialised training for allied health professionals
  • $140,000 to provide additional training and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners

Country Health SA’s Executive Director Medical Services, Dr Hendrika Meyer, said the Rural Health Workforce Strategy (RHWS) will provide training and equipment to upskill regional staff, which will enable specialist care closer to home.

“It is important to provide high quality health services across regional South Australia and ensure communities can receive specialist care,” Dr Meyer said.

“This funding will help ensure that we have a strong rural health workforce by recruiting, training and developing the medical, nursing and midwifery, ambulance, allied health and Aboriginal workforce.

“We look forward to welcoming the additional staff and services to our regions.”

The State Government has committed to investing $20 million over four years to develop and implement the Rural Health Workforce Plan.

CHSA is working in collaboration with key stakeholders and the RHWS Steering Committee to make recommendations to the Minister on the Rural Health Workforce Plan.

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