***PETITION - MEDICAL SERVICES AND DOCTORS IN RURAL, REGIONAL AND REMOTE NSW***
To the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Representatives
concerned community members throughout rural, remote and regional NSW
draws to the attention of the House: As at October 2018, there are already at least 277 vacancies for GPs in rural, remote and regional locations across NSW impacting community access to, and viability of general practice services in those locations. Rather than address this shortage of GPS in rural, remote and regional locations, the Commonwealth's Stronger Rural Health Strategy - Improved Access to Australian Trained General Practitioners, which is to take effect on 1 November 2018, will have a detrimental impact on the recruitment and viability of adequate GP workforce to service these locations, as it will be right across Australia. Further, the 20% reduction in Medicare rebates available to new non Vocationally Registered GPs as part of the Strategy (i.e. the introduction of A7 Level Medicare rebates for non VR GPs not on an approved GP training program), will further compromise the viability of general practice in rural locations at a time where drought affected communities can least afford a decrease in access to GP services, or an increase in health care costs.
We therefore ask the House to 1) Oversee the reinstatement of the Rural Other Medical Practitioners (ROMPs) Program which will be abolished on 31 October 2018 as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy and 2) Increase the opportunities for non VR GPs in locations classified as Modified Monash Model 4,5,6,7 to join approved GP training programs to better support them and improve the quality of primary healthcare in rural areas.
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