August 17, 2012
A University of Melbourne study has revealed GPs would require almost $70,000 worth of incentives to move to a regional community with a population between 5000 and 20,000 people.
The study, which was completed by over 3700 GPs Australia-wide, asked GPs to choose between two job options or to stay in their current job - 65 per cent chose to stay.
GPs also indicated that they would need over $115,000 to move to a regional inland community with less than 5000 people.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the findings underline the flaws in the current incentive scheme to get doctors to move to and work in regional areas.
Mr Chester been campaigning for additional government funding to attract and retain the rural health workforce.
Under the Rural Relocation Incentive Grant program a doctor who moves from Melbourne to an area classed as ‘inner regional’ under the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification system receives a $15,000 payment over two years.
“The current system to entice doctors to work in regional areas is deeply flawed and isn’t solving the shortage in the rural health workforce,” Mr Chester said.
“In Gippsland towns like Maffra, Heyfield, Rosedale and Yarram are all classed as ‘inner regional’ along with the Tasmanian capital city of Hobart.
“The system doesn’t provide enough incentive for doctors to move away from Melbourne and into smaller regional communities where it can be difficult to attract and retain the medical workforce.”