Regional Queensland will have more doctors and nurse practitioners, thanks to federal government reforms that kick in with the New Year.
Ensuring greater access to health care services is a major priority for the Liberal National Government, which is why we’re creating new incentives for medical professionals to practice in regional, rural, and remote areas.
From 1 January 2022, the federal government will eliminate the remaining HELP debt of doctors and nurse practitioners who work in a General Practice in rural and remote areas for specified periods.
Under the scheme, medical and nurse practitioners who spend the length of their degree working in regional towns like Yeppoon, Emerald, and Condamine will have their entire HELP debt eliminated – saving domestic students $70,000.
Practitioners who work in areas classified as remote or very remote – such as Mount Isa and Charlesville – will have their HELP debt eliminated after working just half the length of their degree.
Those who work half the specified time periods will be able to have 50 per cent of their HELP debt eliminated.
This is a major financial incentive for young graduates to move regional areas.
But it isn’t the only health reform set to kick in with the New Year.
The Morrison government is also ensuring Local GPs in regional Queensland have more options and a larger pool of doctors to recruit from, by granting automatic ‘DPA’ status to regional and larger rural towns.
The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification identifies locations in Australia with a shortage of doctors. Currently, only rural and remote communities receive automatic DPA status, with other locations assessed annually to see whether health services meet a benchmark.
But from 1 January, local practices in towns ranging from Ayr to Goondiwindi will be able to reach out to qualified overseas doctors who want to move to our region and practice here, as well as young doctors who accepted a Commonwealth Supported Place in return for working in a regional area.
Together these changes will ensure Queenslanders in regional areas have greater access to GP and primary care services.