fbpx
Mon. May 27th, 2024

The Primary Health Network has announced grants to help get more doctors to the New England and surrounding areas.

In efforts to recruit and retain four new general practitioners (GPs) to the state’s New England, North-West, Upper Hunter and Mid Coast regions, the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (PHN), has announced grant funding of $150 000. The GP Bush Grants are being offered as a second round, following the successful recruitment of nine GPs in 2022 through a similar grant package. 

The 2023 GP Bush Grants which launch in February, are available to general practices in the Tablelands, Mehi/Gwydir, Mid Coast and Upper Hunter regions of the Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN, and are expected to be used before June 30. 

The news of the incentive comes on the same day the two doctors at West Armidale Medical Centre retire, leaving that centre as a telehealth only facility. Dr Maree Puxty and Dr Terry Bohler are just two of eight recent retirements or resignations of Armidale GPs.

The PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis, said the PHN has been working with general practice across the region to develop incentive programs aiming to redress the shortage of general practitioners. 

“The nine GPs we recruited in 2022 through the GP Bush Grants was a great accomplishment for the PHN and the general practices within the region who worked in partnership to ensure the funding opportunities had been fully subscribed. We are hoping that this round of grants will stabilise the current GP shortage for now.” 

“In last year’s funding, one of our practices used their grant funding to recruit a GP from overseas. The grant provided the practice with funding to assist with negotiations and visa expenses which might otherwise have prevented the GP from relocating.” 

“Each GP recruited not only alleviates waiting times within their new practice, but is also a step towards reducing the fatigue felt by other GPs within the practice and across the region.” 

In addition to a cash payment to the practice upon the signing of a new GP from outside of the rural area of the Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN (under a minimum two-year contract), each of the four successful practices will receive a Welcome Ambassador service to assist relocated GPs to settle themselves and their family into the new town. The aim of the Welcome Ambassador service is to assist with assimilation and retention. 

The GP Bush Grants are one of several PHN initiatives addressing the maldistribution of the medical workforce and encouraging doctors to work in regional, rural and remote communities. 

With the average GP caring for 1200 patients, the new recruits will provide care for approximately 4800 people.


Have something to say about this story? Submit your own opinion piece, or quick word, to The Net.