Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has welcomed confirmation today from Health Minister Ryan Park that the GP Single Employer Model will be expanded to the region and begin at the beginning of the 2024 training year.
Wednesday, 5 July 2023
Region to see first new Rural Generalists early next year
AN elated Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall welcomed confirmation today from Health Minister Ryan Park that the GP Single Employer Model will be expanded to the region and begin at the beginning of the 2024 training year.
“This is the most positive news for health services our region has had for quite some time,” Mr Marshall said.
“While it’s taken longer than anticipated to have the Federal Health Minister sign off on the new locations to expand the trial, I’m thrilled the ink is now dry on all the required documents to make this a reality for our region.
“This good news will only be topped when the first crop of the new rural generalist GPs come to our region early next year to provide relief to our beleaguered hospitals, frontline staff and local GPs.”
Mr Marshall said the Minister had advised him today that the NSW Regional Health Division would continue to consult with Hunter New England Health to progress the next steps for the expansion.
“The Minister said Hunter New England Health would now commence the scoping, review and confirmation of their identified general practice partners in our region,” he said.
“This means we should keep the corks in the champagne bottles for now, until we see at which hospitals Hunter New England Health intends to employ these doctors.
“I’ve written today to both the Minister and the health district requesting that in the first crop of the rural generalist, at a minimum, Inverell, Glen Innes, Moree and Armidale Hospitals be included.
“For too long now many of these hospitals have not had their Emergency Departments staffed with doctors and this hast to change.
“Ill be doing everything I can to ensure these hospitals are included in the first tranche early next year to ensure we get maximum benefit.
“After all, it was our region which lobbied so hard to achieve the expansion of the single employer model in the first place and we have the most need of the additional GPs.”
Mr marshall said 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.
“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 paid tribute to the hard-working GPs right across the region who were doing more for less and seeing more patients than ever.
“They are the backbone of our country health services but are not often recognised as such,” he said.
“I want to especially single out Dr Vicki Howell and Dr Michelle Guppy from the Division of General Practice, who have spearheaded the push for the rollout of the single employer model here.
“The 16,000 signature petition last year did its job to shift focus onto workable solutions and pressure government to act and apply to the Commonwealth, but it’s been the grassroots support locally which had helped push this up the agenda.
“A big thank you also to New England Visions 2030, for keeping the focus on this.”