24 July 2023

RACGP welcomes federal funding to boost the rural Queensland GP workforce

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed federal funding that will give 340 junior doctors across Queensland the chance to train in regional and rural areas.

The Federal Government yesterday announced more than $17 million in funding has been provided to Queensland Health through the Albanese Government’s John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Program.

The funding will allow junior doctors employed by Queensland Hospital and Health Services to undertake a rotation at a rural private general practice or approved primary care facility over the next two years. 

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said it was a much-needed boost for rural Queensland’s health workforce.
“This funding is good news for rural and regional Queensland,” she said.

“We know that doctors who train in rural communities, and get a taste of rural life, are more likely to stay on there, and the RACGP has long called for support for prevocational placements to meet community needs – you can’t be what you can’t see.

“Australia is seeing workforce shortages across the board in primary care – GPs, nurses and pharmacists. It’s particularly acute in rural communities, and it results in poorer health outcomes and life expectancy.

“We need a strong primary care workforce with enough GPs in every community.

“Funding for programs that support GPs to train or move to regional, rural, and remote communities can help. Being a GP outside of Australia’s major metropolitan cities is so rewarding, but we know it can be hard for people to make the move, particularly if they’re bringing a partner and children. 

“We can help to plug workforce shortages in the near term by cutting red tape and making it easier and more attractive for overseas doctors to come to Australia.

“Long-term we need to grow more of our own GPs in Australia, which means general practice needs to be adequately funded and an attractive career choice.”

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