06 February 2015
FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said communities in the New England Electorate would find it easier to attract doctors following the Australian Government’s announcement of a new District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) system.
“Updates to the way the Australian Government identifies areas of doctor shortage will benefit communities in the New England Electorate, by helping to better identify those communities that genuinely need more doctors,” Mr Joyce said.
“We have listened to the concerns of rural doctors that the old DWS system was out of date and in desperate need of reform,” he said.
“These changes mean that the most up to date data will be used to identify doctor shortage, which will make it easier to plan for and to recruit doctors. Previous calculations were using data from 2004.”
The Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, released the new maps reflecting the changes.
“Regions with doctor shortages will now be more easily identified so that action can be taken,” Mr Joyce said.
“This will mean that areas with shortages will be able to get much needed doctors.
“Assessments will also be done yearly, rather than every three months, which will give the New England Electorate communities greater certainty when planning health recruitment.”
Mr Joyce said any communities in the New England Electorate that lose their DWS status as a result of the reforms will not lose the doctors they already have. These towns can also replace existing doctors if they leave.
“The changes the Australian Government has announced today have been developed in close consultation with rural doctors,” Mr Joyce said.
“These changes will help to deliver on the Government’s commitment to improve the health outcomes for rural, regional and remote Australians through better access to medical services.”
Information about the DWS system can be found at: www.doctorconnect.gov.au