More GPs and ED doctors for regional NSW: expanding Single Employer Model
Access to healthcare in regional communities will be given a boost, after the NSW Government’s proposal to expand the Single Employer Model was approved by the Commonwealth Government.
The Single Employer Model provides a tailored, coordinated pathway for doctors wanting to become rural generalists during their training in public health facilities and private GP practices.
In turn, it will give more people across rural, regional and remote NSW greater access to locally available healthcare services.
The initiative achieves this by making it more attractive for junior doctors to enter the rural generalist training pathway, while supporting the delivery of services in emergency departments and general practices.
Rural generalists are GPs who provide primary care services, emergency medicine and have training in additional skills like obstetrics, anaesthetics or mental health services.
This specific training will ensure GPs have the right skills to practice in rural settings and can address the individual needs of regional, rural and remote communities.
The model is based on an innovative program trialled in the Murrumbidgee region.
The NSW Government will be able to access exemptions under Section 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1974 for up to 80 rural generalist trainees per year, as part of a 2022/23 federal budget commitment.
Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler said:
“The Single Employer Model is an innovative approach and will help to attract and retain the doctors we need to provide essential primary healthcare services into the future.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Minns government on the expansion of this innovative model, including the additional trials we announced in the May 2023 budget.
“We’ve seen the positive impact the Single Employer Model has made to the availability of healthcare services in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
“This innovative program will make training and working in rural general practice a more attractive option for young doctors and importantly it will make it easier for people in regional NSW to see a doctor close to home.
“The Albanese government is committed to supporting further trials to ensure this reaches communities in need across Australia.”
NSW Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said:
“Recruitment and retention of a primary health workforce is a major challenge for regional, rural, and remote NSW communities and addressing this is a priority for our government.
“This partnership with the Commonwealth Government means more of our regional and rural communities are set to benefit.
“We welcome this opportunity to improve access to primary care and essential medical services.
“This announcement by Minister Butler will ensure the creation of attractive and secure training opportunities to foster the next generation of rural generalist doctors in NSW.”