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Department of Health & Ageing, Q & A Session – Lou Andreatta & Padmaja Jha

Topics and discussion included:

  • Joe McGirr: Senate Community Affairs Inquiry into Rural Workforce

Senate Inquiry over 300 written submissions, over 20 consultations at different locations with many issues & themes raised, including rural classification; education, training, 25% rural background. All recommendations relating to workforce distribution etc. will be considered in the review of health workforce. Government yet to finalise its response to Inquiry (3 months to respond). Independent Chair is familiar with recommendations & has been asking relevant questions at round table meetings and within DoHA. Senate Report and submissions on Senate Website

  • Sarah Strasser: Ongoing role of HWA, including changes proposed for rural/remote issues for clinical training and SLEs

HWA is a COAG initiative & the Commonwealth is only one player in decision making. Partnership agreement review is underway. HWA strategic planning has been successful yielding an evidence base to look at future predictions & formulate future policy. Future of HWA and role unclear.

  • Alexandra Meyer: Reporting issues - What makes a great RCTS report?

It is up to individual RCS how report is presented, providing it contains relevant information & response provided to show how each parameter is met. Including an addendum is an option. Currently there is no public access to collective reports. FRAME could request for reporting to be made public, i.e. FRAME website – options could include individual reports; anecdotal case studies etc. Agenda item carried over for discussion at caucus.

  • Jonathon Newbery: Expenditure of RCTS funds on seeding research activities to generate data for grant submissions etc

It’s possible this would be considered as it is within training and workforce, research into what rural communities need to deliver fully on parameters eg. a 12 month scholarship for research into relevant, specific rural health issues. Important that the funded research effort feeds back into education & training. Opportunities for reciprocity of research, recognising research as important for leverage in recruitment & retention with young career medical, nursing & allied health students, as they decide where they want to work. Innovation & new models happening in rural areas, publications needed.

  • Jenny Donelly: Funding stream 2014-17 – will the next funding round be based on a model similar to current model? What will be the student numbers census date and will funding be based on rural classification?

Will be considered in the context of the review of Health workforce programs - parameters may be the same. Funding may not be based on student numbers alone, also other things like where training was held.

  • Geoff Solarsh: At least 4 universities are interested in establishing new medical schools

Minister is not considering any new medical schools.

  • David Campbell – more likely to achieve workforce outcome if students are of rural origin (25%). Is DoHA considering applying similar policy to GP training?

Review is looking at continuum training and scholarships, and how can all link. This generated considerable discussion about rural generalist and rural specialist training and different models of vertical integration. Review wants to find out what vertical integration means, what is needed to make it happen, policy required and how to implement.

  • Georgia Van Guttner: Specialist training program - Will it continue to roll out?

2013 program rolled out, full allocation complete. Plans for 2014 in place. A number of RCS included in collaborations. Engagement is needed in this area.

  • Amanda Croft: New system for payment of funds has caused problems within universities

DoHA has introduced new system for payment of grants to help streamline the grants process. Health Workforce Division first to roll out, some teething problems. Once set up, both parties will have less paperwork. Once fully implemented it will be beneficial to all.

  • Timothy Skinner: Five per cent issue - when is centralised service a centralised service? What defines the 5%?

Policy thinking behind 5% rule, funding under RCTS needs to be expended in rural areas but recognises there is some expense in managing contractual arrangements. Not more than 5%. An RCS does not have to spend 5% on central administration. RCS should negotiate with its university.