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Minister announces postgraduate scholarships for rural allied health professionals.



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Media Release Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

February 25, 2003

MINISTER ANNOUNCES POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR RURAL ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia will receive more opportunities for professional development and education following the announcement of a new postgraduate scholarship scheme by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson.

Funding of $2.1 million has been allocated over three years for the Commonwealth's Allied Health Rural and Remote Scholarships: Postgraduate Scheme, which will assist postgraduate students to undertake clinical placements, and study towards certificate level short courses and higher education programs.

"Allied health professionals play a vital role in the provision of health services, but there are often limited opportunities for allied health professionals to gain further education and training in rural areas.

"These new scholarships will make it easier for rural allied health professionals to keep abreast with latest developments and maintain appropriate qualifications.

"By breaking down obstacles to professional development, we hope to encourage more allied health professionals to practise in rural and remote Australia. In turn, this will contribute to improved health service delivery in rural and remote areas," she said.

The scholarship scheme will be administered by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH), which will advertise the first selection round nationally in February, with applications expected to close in April 2003. Applications will be assessed on merit, with scholarship remuneration depending on the type and duration of course

undertaken.

Any allied health professional currently employed or residing in rural or remote Australia with a demonstrated commitment to rural practice and continuing professional development will be eligible for the scheme. The scheme will also support existing rural allied health professionals wishing to upskill in a supplementary field. For instance, a physiotherapist may wish to become multiskilled by studying towards psychology qualifications.

For further scholarship information phone the scholarships manager on (02) 6285 4660. For further information on Commonwealth rural health initiatives freecall 1800 020 787 or visit www.ruralhealth.gov.au

Media contact:Randal Markey, Senator Patterson's office: (02) 6277 7220