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Post Budget Update & Update on Consultations re RHMDT -

David Meredyth, Director, Rural Training Pathway section and Katy Roberts from Health Workforce Division, Department of Health
  • RTP section has a broad role these days - managing the Rural Training program, the Specialist Training policy and the Specialist Training Program. Also Junior Doctor, Training policy, involved in the current review of Intern training, Postgraduate continuing professional development programs and Rural procedural grants program as well as the Clinical training funding program.
  • Work in partnership with stakeholders
  • Keen to maintain stakeholder relationship, constant communication and on-going debate around how to continue to get the best outcomes
Health Budget update
  • Doesn’t contain huge packages as in previous years reflecting the current fiscal environment
  • New and reformed areas such as strengthening and modernising Medicare
  • Reshaping of Primary care to address the burden of Chronic Disease
  • Reaffirmed commitment to e-Health but wants to restructure how this will work
  • Focus on shortages of Doctors in Rural Australia
Budget Key measures
  • $485 million to fund operation e-health and re badged as the My-health record. Aim to increase numbers and to be embraced by both patients and the profession
  • Review of the Medicare benefits schedule and review of MBS items
  • Development of the Mental Health plan
  • New primary health care advisory group
  • $1.3 billion over 4 years on new PBS listings
  • Reform of the pharmaceutical benefit scheme
  • $10 million funding for medical research funds in 2015/2016 with a further 400 million scheduled over forward estimates to go into that
  • $26.4 million as an investment in immunisation
  • $20 million to RFBS
Budget Health Workforce Initiatives
  • Changes to scholarships and changes to rural incentives
  • Continuing investment in medical training programs
  • Reviewing specialist training program
  • Consolidating, streamlining and reforming the RHMT program
  • Participating in the review of Intern training
  • Branch is Rolling out the reforms to the Australian General Practice training program
  • Number of GP training places is growing, targets are being maintained
  • Upcoming tender process for the regional training program, new boundaries and a lot of engagement with the profession as to how this is going to work
  • Business as usual environment with reform added
  • Applications for GP training for next year are really high
  • New geographic classification system for doctors and dentists with a focus on smaller rural communities
  • From 1 July GPRIP incentive will not be available to doctors working in large regional towns with a population of more 50,000 which covers places like Albury/Wodonga, Townsville, Cairns and Hobart
  • Doctors will need to stay in rural and regional areas longer – from the current 6 months to 2 years in small rural and regional towns and 1 year in remote areas before they start to get the retention incentives
  • Scholarship programs – quite a large area of reform including fairly significant changes in return of service Scholarship schemes
  • No longer running 2 schemes – from 2016 the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship program will be consolidated into the Bonded Medical Place Scheme
  • Students with a new bonded place will receive a position in a medical school dependent on working for a reduced return of service period of 1 year in a non-metropolitan district of workforce shortage or small town.   Defined as Categories 4-7 under the modified Monash classification scheme
  • Doctors will be able to complete their return of service in an appropriate modified Monash area as well as locations classified as districts of workplace shortage
  • New scholarship program in 2016 for medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health students
  • Dedicated scholarships available for ATSI people studying to enter into the health workforce
  • For all other scholarship recipients, there will be a requirement to work for a year after graduating in a non-metropolitan area. This is expected to provide over 2000 health professionals in rural and regional Australia this year