Rural health set for election boost

Boosting country health resources is a goal for the Liberal and Labor parties heading into the state election.

Under a $20-million Liberal plan, health professionals and skills volunteers would be recruited, trained and developed to address gaps in the state’s regional health workforce.

Peter Treloar

Peter Treloar

Liberal candidate, Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said the region faced continual challenges to recruit and retain resident specialists.

He said the Liberal plan would assist communities fill skill gaps and attract specialists to regional centres by delivering funding to assist teaching and training in country hospitals and doubling the number of medical interns in regional areas.

The Liberal plan includes doubling country medical interns; allocating teaching hospital funding to country health networks, enabling those networks to negotiate shared training with metropolitan networks; support to recruit and retain resident specialists by engaging interns, registrars and medical officers with specialist skills; and developing registered nurse/midwife collaborative graduate programs.

LABOR: Candidate for Flinders Julie Watson.

LABOR: Candidate for Flinders Julie Watson.

Labor candidate Julie Watson said Labor would continue working toward meaningful engagement in education and training opportunities.

“It’s easy to make promises around opening up training opportunities but the difficulty lies with ensuring that students receive adequate training with appropriate support and do not end up disadvantaged or needing to take longer with their degrees as a result of learning in the country,” she said.

Ms Watson said Labor would continue to work with key stakeholders, including councils and the Australian Medical Association, and fund the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency to develop incentives to attract doctors to regional areas.