Dr Tim Kelly, Chairperson of the NRHA, has welcomed today's announcement by the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, of a revised and improved classification system for remoteness to be used for the administration of financial incentives in the health sector.
"The rural and remote health sector has been anticipating this day for some time and is delighted at today's announcement by the Minister," said Dr Kelly.
“The modified Monash model to be introduced early in 2015 accounts much better than the existing ASCG-RA classification for the population size and isolation of rural and remote communities," he said.
Places that are currently in ASGC-RA 2 and 3 will be allocated to four groups according to their population size. This will result in improved differentiation between large, medium and small populations in regional areas.
This will result in fairer targeting of general practice incentives, designed to attract doctors to where they are most needed.
“People in a town like Urana will no longer be competing directly with places as large as Townsville,” said Gordon Gregory, Chief Executive Officer of the NRHA.
The new model will help overcome previous anomalies and address some of the concerns and frustrations expressed by rural doctors for some time.
The Alliance also welcomes the announcement that medical students from bonded places will be able to undertake their return of service obligations in small towns and remote areas as well as in Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS). DWS arrangements will also be modified to provide greater stability and certainty for rural practices trying to recruit doctors from overseas.
The NRHA looks forward to working with the Minister and her Department on the implementation of the new classification system.
Tim Kelly (Chairperson): 0438 011 383
Gordon Gregory (CEO): 02 6285 4660