LOCAL GPs wanting to expand their practices are urged to apply for funding under the new Rural General Practice Grants (RGPG) program, says Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, announced the program which will provide $13.1m for infrastructure grants for existing general practices in regional, rural and remote Australia.
“Teaching, training and retaining the next generation of health workers in regional areas like Leichhardt is a priority for the Coalition Government,” Mr Entsch said.
“We’ve streamlined the former Rural and Regional Teaching Infrastructure Grants program to better meet the needs of rural communities and support the work of rural GPs.
“Grants can be used for a range of infrastructure projects, including construction, fit-out and/or renovation of an existing general practice building, supply and installation of information and communication technology equipment or medical equipment.”
The more streamlined and simplified two-step application process opened yesterday, Monday, 21 November, through the new Rural General Practice Grants Program.
Grants of up to $300,000 will be provided to successful applicants in 2017. All successful applicants will be required to match the Commonwealth funding contribution.
“General practice in rural Australia faces unique challenges in healthcare including the ability to attract and retain a health workforce,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The RGPG program will enable existing health facilities to provide teaching and training opportunities for a range of health professionals within the practice and for practitioners to develop experience in training and supervising healthcare workers.
“I believe that strong, accessible primary care in regional Australia helps alleviate pressure on the public hospital system and at the same time it also provides opportunities for earlier intervention and better patient outcomes.”
Mr Entsch said it was vital that all residents of Leichhardt, no matter where they live, have access to quality health services.
“We also want our health professionals who live and work in rural, regional and remote Australia to have access to teaching and training opportunities so they remain in general practice and in the communities that need them the most.”
Grant documentation is available from the Department of Health’s Tenders and Grants page at www.health.gov.au/tenders.