Creating a stronger rural health strategy

The Nationals Senator and Federal Minister for Rural Health, Bridget McKenzie, and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath have met with Latrobe Regional Hospital Chief Executive to discuss the Federal Government’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

Minister Bridget McKenzie is currently Acting Leader of The Nationals and is also Federal Minister for Sport and Regional Communications.

“Unfortunately in regional and rural Victoria many communities have to cope with shortages in general practitioners and specialist doctors which significantly impacts on patient wait times and continuity of care,” Ms Bath said.

“During today’s Latrobe Valley visit, Minister McKenzie was able meet with CEO Peter Craighead to discuss training pathways for our doctors and allied health professionals in order to plan for improved rural health services here in Gippsland”.

The Federal Government’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy is a transformational package that will strengthen local health services and deliver more home-grown Australian doctors in rural Australia.

“Establishing the rural health strategy will enable local students to remain in our local community while they study and train.  Rural hospitals will benefit through increased staffing and workforce sustainability, doctors that train in their region are far more likely to stay and practice in the local community,” said Ms Bath.

Twenty years ago, Australia faced a nationwide health workforce shortage. Over the past decade concerted Government efforts have been made to address this and now indications are that by 2030, Australia may have as many as 7,000 additional doctors.

“Visiting Latrobe Regional Hospital provides an opportunity for Minister Mckenzie to gather a clear understanding of the local issues faced in our region.  After touring the hospital, Minister McKenzie will appreciate our specific issues and be better placed to forward plan to meet our growing healthcare needs”.

“Regional communities deserve the same access to high-quality healthcare services as those living in our capital cities.  It was great to hold discussions with Latrobe Regional Hospital on Latrobe Valley’s regional and rural health priorities and discuss ways to further encourage our future health professionals to train and stay in the region,” Ms Bath concluded.