Friday, 10 March 2023
EOIs called for local GP practices to participate
THE first step in rolling out the new and innovative GP Single Employer Model across the region has been taken this week with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today welcoming the commencement of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from local GP clinics to participate.
Mr Marshall said EOIs were being taken now by the NSW Division of Regional Health ahead of the first intake of junior doctors to the region in January next year.
“The EOI stage will identify which GP practices across the Northern Tablelands wish to participate by hosting and supervising a doctor in their practice, on the days they are not working in the local hospital,” Mr Marshall said.
“These numbers will determine how many doctors the Division then recruits from the next graduating class to work in each local hospital and local GP practices.
“From the discussions I’ve been having with GPs and GP practice managers across our region, I’m hoping a large number of practices to put up their hands to participate.
“There’s a huge amount of excitement about this new model and it is without doubt the most positive initiative for primary health care in a very long time and will serve our local hospitals and patients well too.
“I’m thrilled the ball is rolling already and while there still has to be a formal Memorandum of Understanding signed between NSW and the Commonwealth Governments to formalise the required arrangements and federal exemptions, no time is being wasted in preparing for the recruitment phase later this year.”
Mr Marshall said EOIs were now open for GP clinics across the Northern Tablelands.
GP clinics will be contacted by the Division of Regional Health over the coming weeks and practice managers are also free to contact the Division via MOH-OCG-RegionalHD@health.nsw.gov.au to express their interest.
Mr Marshall reiterated his thanks and appreciation to Federal Health Minister Mark Butler and Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor for listening to the region’s legitimate concerns and our desire to implement this model, which he believes will help reverse the trend and see more GPs attracted to and remain in the region.
“While this shot-in-the-arm is no silver bullet, it will go a long way to addressing the sharp decline in GP numbers in the bush and our region and bolster the existing clinics and every hospital in the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said.
“While focus is on ensuring, as a minimum, a strong rollout of the model in Moree, Inverell, Glen Innes and Armidale, any GP practice in the Northern Tablelands is eligible and should express an interest should they wish to participate.
“The Single Employer Model requires the agreement and commitment to funding of both levels of government and I’m pleased that together partisanship has been put aside to deliver the solution we’ve wanted and quickly.”
Under the Model, junior doctors are directly employed at local public hospitals, while still enjoying the flexibility to practice as a private GP in a local practice, under supervision, accessing the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
“This is really the best of both worlds for GPs starting out their careers in medicine and makes being a rural GP so much more attractive and on par with specialists for graduating medical students,” Mr Marshall said.
“They are remunerated at high levels, enjoy all the leave and insurance entitlements of salaried NSW Health staff, while still being a private GP accessing the Medicare Scheme and all the benefits which comes with that.
“In essence, it’s a hybrid model of public and private GP to prove extra incentive to come and stay in our region while still training.
“It’s a real win-win scenario and has been hugely successful in the Murrumbidgee Health District, which pioneered the Model some years ago.
“This new model of practice also ensures that when someone presents to their local emergency department there is a doctor present as they are directly employed by the hospital, rather than utilising costly and unreliable locum doctors as is the case now.”
Mr Marshall said he would continue to keep the community informed of progress on the rollout of the GP Single Employer Model.