FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said Delungra has been included in changes to the District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) system which will make it easier to recruite General Practitioners to the town.
Mr Joyce said the changes cover all areas in the Modified Monash Model classifications of MM 5-7, which includes remote and very remote Australia, and towns in regional Australia with less than 5,000 residents.
He said by granting Delungra with DWS status, it makes it easier to recruit GPs and so undertake workforce planning to ensure the communities’ continued access to health services.
“As a result of this February update, 220 communities in Modified Monash 5-7 will now be considered DWS,” he said.
“This change to the DWS system demonstrates the Coalition Government’s continuing commitment to improving access to health services for Australians living in small, isolated rural and remote communities of Australia, and recognises the challenges in these areas to recruit and retain GPs,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said a location is deemed to be a DWS for a medical specialty if it falls below the national average for the provision of medical services for the specialty, based on the latest Medicare billing statistics. DWS classifications are updated annually in February for all medical specialities (including general practice) by the Department of Health.
Areas which are considered DWS are able to attract doctors who would otherwise be restricted in their ability to provide Medicare subsidised services. This includes overseas trained doctors while they are subject to the 10-year moratorium on Medicare provider numbers under the Health Insurance Act (1973).