- The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) Management Committee will recommend to all rural doctors that they do not accept additional GP Registrars until the popular Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) axed in the recent Commonwealth budget is restored.
- AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, said today that the highly-respected Byte from the Beach report from the University of Sydney provides further evidence that the Government’s proposed co-payment for GP, radiology, and pathology services, and increased co-payments for medicines, will hit vulnerable patients the hardest.
- Rolling stoppages planned at WA hospitals from today have been delayed by a week in a move the Health Services Union (HSU) says gives Health Minister Kim Hames time to “do the right thing” in regards to their call for a better pay deal.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th July 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
NSW rural doctors issue ultimatum to Government on rural workforce and training
The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) Management Committee will recommend to all rural doctors that they do not accept additional GP Registrars until the popular Pre-Vocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) axed in the recent Commonwealth budget is restored, and serious and longstanding problems with the ASGC-RA classification and District of Workforce Shortage classification systems are addressed.
The President of Rural Doctors Association of NSW, Dr David Richmond, said that successive Commonwealth Governmentsʼ handling of the rural medical workforce was a “dogʼs breakfast”.
“For over 15 years we have seen the current GP Registrar scheme fail to provide rural communities with doctors with the training and skills required to meet the needs of their communities.”
“Yet it is schemes such as the Pre-Vocational General Practice Placement Program that give exposure to junior doctors working in the hospital system to rural practice. This scheme, that is proving successful in providing support on-the-ground and a new Australian Trained workforce committed to rural practice, has been dumped for an extra 300 GP training places which will be simply more of the same old same old.”
Under the Pre-Vocational General Practice Placement Program junior doctors, mostly Australian trained, rotate out of regional and metropolitan hospitals into rural practices, providing valuable support and getting exposure to rural practice.
There has been growing disillusionment amongst rural practices about the system of GP Registrar training. Rural practices have in the past had to provide training and supervision to a disproportionate number of overseas trained doctors – in some areas over 90% of trainees have come from overseas. A number of these doctors from overseas acquire extra skills, stay and provide a valued service but many are forced to train in rural areas under the governmentʼs moratorium and simply do not want to remain in rural practice or get the advanced skills necessary to provide the services needed to meet the needs of communities.
Workforce for smaller rural communities is also being affected by the ASGC- RA classification scheme that sees incentives for rural practice in small communities such as Moree, Cowra and Gundagai (where doctors provide on- call after hours and hospital procedural services) the same as for larger regional centres such as Townsville, Wagga Wagga and even Hobart.
But this problem is compounded by the ridiculous District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) scheme where locations in Canberra are classified as A District of Workforce Shortage but many smaller rural communities are NOT.
This means that junior doctors, many of whom are bonded medical scholars committed to spending a considerable time in a District of Workforce Shortage, cannot do so in a smaller rural community even though they may want to be rural doctors.
Dr Richmond said that there was little point in throwing another 300 GP Registrars at the bush and dumping a scheme that has huge promise and is delivering quality outcomes. For further information please contact:
Dr David Richmond – RDA NSW President – 0428 617 636
AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, said today that the highly-respected Byte from the Beach report from the University of Sydney provides further evidence that the Government’s proposed co-payment for GP, radiology, and pathology services, and increased co-payments for medicines, will hit vulnerable patients the hardest.
A/Prof Owler said the Byte from the BEACH report is the first to clearly quantify the likely impact of the Government’s Budget measures for health.
“This is the sort of research that the Government should have conducted before the Budget,” A/Prof Owler said.
“The report shows the cost impact for patients who have the types of conditions that must be properly managed in the community to avoid more costly hospital treatment,” A/Prof Owler said.
“It highlights that older Australians, who generally need more medical care, will be hardest hit by the co-payments.
A/Prof Owler said that the AMA is encouraged that the Government is showing signs of having another look at some aspects of the current co-payment model.
Rolling stoppages planned at WA hospitals from today have been delayed by a week in a move the Health Services Union (HSU) says gives Health Minister Kim Hames time to “do the right thing” in regards to their call for a better pay deal.
HSU members had given the WA Government until last Friday to revise its pay offer, which adheres to a policy of 2.75 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent next year for all public sector workers.
The union has demanded 9 per cent over two years.
HSU WA secretary Dan Hill said members were angry the Health Minister had refused to talk with the union and a better offer had not been made.
A spokesman for Dr Hames said the pay deal was nothing to do with the Health Minister as all pay claims were overseen by Minister for Commerce Michael Mischin.
But Mr Hill said Dr Hames still had a role to play as the direct employer of staff in WA health services.
Mr Hill said HSU members planned to walk off the job at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital next Tuesday 15th July and Royal Perth Hospital on Thursday 17th July.
Stoppages at other hospitals, including those in regional areas, were also planned.
CPSU members have until July 11 to vote on the same capped raise.
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