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Looking after pharmacy in rural and remote Australia.

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Media release


The Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge

Minister for Health and Aged Care



16 February 1999






A program to place pharmacy students in rural and remote pharmacies for part of their trai ning is the latest move by the Federal Government to boost health care in the bush.


Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Dr Michael Wooldridge announced today that during 1999-2000 the Government will allocate $500,000 each year for the new rural and remote pharmacy workforce development program.


“Rural and remote pharmacy workforce has been identified by the Government as a high priority area for 1999, together with midwifery, first line emergency care and allied health,” Dr Wooldridge said.


“This new initiative will focus on the development of a structured placement program for pharmacy students to regional areas and strategies for increasing the number of rural and remote pharmacy students to equal the proportion of rural and remote populations in the States.


“Previous experience with other health professions has shown us that students from rural areas, or who gain positive rural experiences as an undergraduate, are more likely to become rural health professionals.


“That’s why we have established the University Departments of Rural Health, and why we want to set up structures for pharmacists that mirror such initiatives as the John Flynn Scholarships for medical students.


Dr Wooldridge said other elements of the program include the establishment of a scholarship scheme for pharmacy students and providing support for locum relief for rural and remote pharmacists.


"I’d like to commend the Pharmacy Guild, which has been very supportive of rural practice.


“They came to me with this excellent proposal that I believe will really make a difference to the health needs of people living in rural and remote Australia.”


Dr Wooldridge said that while some aspects of the workforce development program were ambitious, the Government was confident that with the cooperation of the pharmacy professional groups, progress on recruitment and retention of the rural and remote pharmacy workforce could be made.


Media Contact: Kay McNiece, Dr Wooldridge’s Office 02 6277 7220