Thursday 24 September 2015
Bega Valley Shire Council will ask the Federal Ministers for Health and Education to urgently reconsider changes to the Australian General Practice training program boundaries that will affect a long-standing relationship between local doctors and the ANU Rural Clinical Medical School.
Cr Sharon Tapscott raised her concerns about the changes in a Notice of Motion to Councillors on Wednesday 23 September
“Over the past 12 years medical students have lived, studied and worked in the NSW South East, supported by local medical practitioners, hospitals and the community,” she said.
“The objective of the partnership is to encourage medical students to consider working and living in rural areas, particularly the South East.
“Twelve years ago the average age of medical practitioners in the Bega Valley was in the 50s and there were very few medical students in practices.
“Now it is the norm for there to be students in practices and new GPs have moved to the area with their young families.
“From next year changes to the Australian General Practice Training boundaries will impact severely on the work that local GPs, chambers of commerce, the Council and individuals have worked so hard to put in place and support.”
Cr Tapscott said the changed boundaries for training regions would mean that ANU students would be linked to Western NSW and universities linked to the South East will be in Sydney and Wollongong.
“Therefore it is less likely they will undertake a rural placement some five to six hours away in the Bega Valley Shire.
“This training program feeds into the succession plan for the local GPs thereby giving the community some certainty around continuous access to health care professionals,” Cr Tapscott said.