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Improving accommodation for GP registrars and medical students in country Australia.

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Friday, 5 October 2001


The Federal Member for Mallee, Mr John Forrest, today announced project funding of $200,000 to improve accommodation for GP registrars and medical students in Mildura.

Mr Forrest said "With the Government's rural GP initiatives now gathering great momentum, there is an urgent need to provide suitable accommodation for the increasing numbers of GP registrars and medical students now choosing to train in country areas.

"This funding will go a long way to addressing this urgent problem and it is my intention to continue working towards solving this issue", Mr Forrest said.

The Government has allocated a total of $13 million over three years to the initiative. In the first round of applications, twenty projects worth nearly $3.7 million were approved around Australia. This second round of approvals covers an extra forty-eight projects worth a further total of $8.4 million across the nation.

Mr Forrest said, "This is an important initiative, recognising that the challenge of getting more doctors in the bush needs to be tackled on a number of fronts.

"There has been a massive investment in programmes to retain and support existing rural GPS with around $90 million expected to be spent on such initiatives next financial year or around $25,000 per rural GP.

"However the key to achieving a long term improvement in this area is to encourage more new medical graduates to pursue a career in rural medicine", he said.

The accommodation initiative will complement the Federal Government's current $562 million Regional Health Strategy which includes $264 million over four years to increase the number of GP registrars training in country areas, provide additional University Departments of Rural Health and Clinical Schools and provide scholarships to encourage medical students to train in rural and remote Australia.

There are now more medical students training in rural areas but this is only part ot he answer. We also need to provide support and infrastructure to help make this a positive experience that encourages them to choose a career in rural medicine and this is where initiatives such as these accommodation projects are vitally important.