Improved incentive for Stanthorpe doctors welcomed
STANTHORPE Hospital medical superintendent Dr Dan Manahan welcomes an increase of between $4000-$5000 annually to the pay packets of Granite Belt doctors.
"As a Stanthorpe doctor and local resident, I am happy to see support which leads to a greater number of rural doctors where they are needed," he said.
The General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) is a Commonwealth Government initiated program and the incentive payments are paid to doctors willing to stay and work in remote, rural and regional areas of Queensland.
The program, which started in 2009 aims to increase and retain the number of medical practitioners working and provides financial incentives to medical practitioners working in rural and remote areas.
The system however, was flawed in that doctors working in or close to major regional centres, where there were no workforce shortages were receiving these incentives rather than in areas where there were genuine workforce and recruitment problems.
Changes to GPRIP will come into effect from July 1.
"I welcome the improved incentive system as it will support doctors to practise in rural and remote locations such as Stanthorpe," Dr Dan Manahan said.
"Many rural towns have significant shortages of doctors."
Dr Manahan said programs like the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway were making headway in addressing this doctor shortage with well trained, motivated doctors, wanting to contribute in a meaningful way and wanting a rural lifestyle.
"The health dollar purse is not bottomless and rural doctors work in rural teams," he said.
"Incentives to attract nurses and allied health workers into rural jobs are an equally important part of the jigsaw."
Clinical Director Queensland Country Practice Dr Dilip Dhupelia said changes would make the system fairer.
"GPRIP will transition to the new Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification system to determine eligible locations," he said.
The MMM is a new classification system that better categorises metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and population size.
"The system was developed to recognise the challenges in attracting health workers to more remote and smaller communities," Dr Dhupelia.
For doctors working or who wish to work in the Stanthorpe area, the fairer distribution equates to an increase of between $4000-$5000 annually and payable after the first one or two years service and is capped after five years of service.