A draft plan to recruit, train and develop the medical workforce in rural areas of South Australia has today been released for consultation, as part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s Rural Health Workforce Strategy.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the draft plan is a broad strategy to ensure we grow and strengthen our regional medical workforce and continue to deliver world-class care in rural areas.
“South Australia faces many challenges in recruiting, training and developing the health professionals needed to deliver public health services in rural areas,” Minister Wade said.
“We currently have 35 vacancies in South Australia’s General Practice training program, all of which are vacancies in regional areas.
“These vacancies affect both the services we can offer and the future General Practice workforce supply.
“Our draft Rural Medical Workforce Plan, developed by the Rural Health Workforce Steering Committee, outlines strategies to help attract more doctors to the regions and empower our country clinicians with the support they need, when and where they need it.
“Consultation on the draft plan will run through August and September, with clinicians, key stakeholders and Local Health Network professional leads all coming together to provide valuable feedback to ensure we can secure the workforce needed for the future.”
SA Health’s Rural Health Workforce Steering Committee Chair, Dr Hendrika Meyer, said the proposed strategies aim to boost the number of senior doctors and medical trainees in regional areas and will also look at how the metropolitan health networks and workforce can support the regions.
“It is extremely important for clinicians to be available in each Local Health Network so communities can receive the medical care they need closer to home avoiding the need to travel,” Dr Meyer said.
“Some of the strategies to address the shortage include expanding intern and resident training capacity in rural hospitals, increasing exposure to rural experiences for metropolitan based medical interns, and linking training pathways to future rural employment opportunities.
“These strategies have been developed from an extensive data collection and stakeholder consultation process, including a workshop with key stakeholders, clinicians and health service leads to encourage existing members of the workforce to provide input.
“By involving clinicians and stakeholders across regional South Australia, we will ensure the plan can be tailored to the needs of the local community.
“Work will also now occur on corresponding plans for the South Australian Ambulance Service, allied health professionals, and the nursing and midwifery workforce in regional and rural South Australia.”
The Marshall Liberal Government has provided an investment of $20 million over four years, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, to develop and implement the Rural Health Workforce Strategy.
Local consultation on the draft Rural Medical Workforce Plan in each of the six regional Local Health Networks will commence in the Limestone Coast on 6 August 2019. Consultation closes 30 September 2019.
For more information and to view the draft plan, go to www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/ruralhealthworkforce.