3 November 2014
Australia’s peak general practice coalition, United General Practice Australia (UGPA) welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to rural health policy changes last week.
Announced at the Rural Medicine Australia 14 conference by Assistant Health Minister, The Hon. Fiona Nash, the move reflects long standing priorities for UGPA.
The Government committed to move away from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) to a modified ‘Monash Model’ as the classification system for determining the ‘rurality’ of regional, rural and remote communities.
Having previously endorsed the modified ‘Monash Model’, UGPA believes this move will promote rural and remote medical workforce recruitment and retention by directing incentive payments to areas of most need.
The Government also highlighted the importance of exploring mechanisms for continuing rural general practice exposure.
UGPA has advocated against the abolition of the Pre-Vocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) since it was announced in the Federal health budget in May, and have called for the PGPPP to either be reinstated or replaced by an alternate program.
UGPA also welcomes the Government’s commitment to use the latest data to define Districts of Workforce Shortage, and promised changes to the return of service obligations for Bonded Medical Scholars.
UGPA looks forward to working alongside the Federal Minister for Health, the Department of Health and the Expert Working Panel which will be appointed to oversee the implementation of those announcements.