14 towns and communities in Farrer will find it easier to attract doctors after an overhaul of the GP Rural Incentives Program, according to local MP and Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley.

Under a system introduced by the former government, $50 million a year was being used to pay incentives for doctors to live in large regional cities which had little trouble in attracting GP’s.

Changes announced on the weekend will now see 450 country towns receive increased subsidies to attract and retain doctors, including the following areas…-

Corowa–Wahgunyah, Deniliquin, Echuca–Moama, Yarrawonga–Mulwala, Barooga, Culcairn, Finley, Holbrook, Howlong, Tocumwal, Balranald, Barham–Koondrook, Hay and Wentworth.

Ms Ley said “these changes will redirect money to towns which have had genuine difficulty in attracting and retaining doctors, meaning smaller rural communities will have a better opportunity to gain the medical services they need and deserve”.

“This will directly benefit local communities and indirectly benefit other towns, because doctors looking for rural incentives will be spread wider to places which really need them.”

The highest incentive paid to work in remote Australia will increase to $60,000 a year. The maximum incentive to work in a town of less than 5000 in regional Australia will increase
to $23,000.

The changes come after consultation and a report from an independent expert panel (using the new Modified Monash Model) to classify rural and regional towns and cities.

The new arrangements start from 01 July 2015, with doctors in remote areas able to receive incentive payments after one year. More information and the expert panel’s report is available at www.ruralhealthaustralia.gov.au