Meeting with the Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor, left, recently to present the latest proposal, developed by the University of New England to help address doctor shortages in regional NSW, Professor Rod McClure, Dr Jen Williams and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
Thursday, 9 June 2022
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has used a speech on the floor of State Parliament to call for an overhaul of NSW Health’s existing hiring and remuneration practices for the rural medical workforce, requesting the State Government consider funding new initiatives, such as the University of New England’s New England Virtual Health Network (NEViHN).
Mr Marshall said it was important that NSW Health developed and implemented a new hiring model for medical staff in rural and regional hospitals.
“Pouring more money into old, failed systems will not deliver different outcomes for us,” Mr Marshall said.
“Thankfully, a workable solution to the doctor shortage crisis is being developed by UNE, which is exploring ways that basic telehealth can evolve to the stage where hospital-level care is not dependent on a physical location.
“The fruit of this work is NEViHN, a system that will support the delivery of in‑place health care patients in their homes and in-place learning for all future UNE medicine and health students.
“Utilising one of two Joint Virtual Care Clinics (JVCC), UNE medical school students will maintain their required learning via video-link, while undertaking placements in local GP clinics, community health centres and hospitals in one of seven participating regional, rural and remote towns.
“This means students won’t have to leave the region to complete their full medical qualifications.
“Meantime, the JVCC will be staffed by a permanent doctor, senior nurse and will utilise students in the later stages of their training to provide telehealth services to medical practitioners in the participating communities.
“This ticks a huge box for me, as it leverages telehealth technology to support GPs while also continuing to educate of students in medicine, while keeping them in the regions for the full extent of their degree.”
Mr Marshall said he would be working with the State Government to make NEViHN part of the solution to bolstering the region’s future health workforce.
“Last month, I facilitated a positive meeting between UNE and the Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor, who was extremely interested in hearing about NEViHN’s trial phase,” he said.
“This system requires significant financial support for new infrastructure, technology capabilities and the employment of additional staff, with $9 million alone required in years one and two of what is expected to be a 10-year roll-out.
“I commend UNE’s Professor Jennifer Williams, Professor Rod McClure and senior lecturer in rural medicine Dr Rod Martin and I look forward to working with UNE and the Minister, to turn the project into a reality.”