Rural and regional families are set to benefit from more doctors in their communities (including ophthalmologists) as the Australian Government increases the rewards and incentives for doctors to move to these areas.
The Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon, said recently that city doctors who move to regional or remote areas will receive up to AUD$120,000 in relocation payments, under a suite of incentives the Australian Government started rolling out from 1 July 2010 to boost the rural health workforce.
He said the Australian Government’s Rural Health Workforce Strategy, would invest AUD$134.4 million in incentives, including giving rural doctors access to retention payments of up to AUD$47,000 a year – an increase from AUD$25,000.
More than 2,400 doctors around Australia will for the first time become eligible to receive retention payments and professional support to remain in rural and remote areas.
“The Government’s approach is ‘the more remote you go, the greater the reward’ to encourage doctors to work in some of Australia’s more remote communities and keep them there,” Mr. Snowdon said.
“Further, more than 3,600 overseas trained doctors with restrictions on where they can practise will be able to discharge their obligations sooner if they work in rural and remote communities.
“Likewise, Medical students with a HECS debt can now repay the cost of their studies up to three years earlier by working in rural areas”.