Expressions of Interest (EOI) for local GP clinics to participate in a state-wide rollout of the Single Employer Model for rural doctors are well underway.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said EOIs were being undertaken now via the NSW Division of Regional Health, Local Health Districts (LHDs) and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in preparation for the first intake of doctors across the region early next year.
“Despite GPs being the responsibility of the Federal Government, the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has been actively looking for solutions to the GP workforce shortage in rural and regional NSW,” Ms Cooke said.
“This could see doctors undertaking advanced training at Cowra and Young Hospitals as early as next year, and eventually networked out to health facilities in areas such as Cootamundra, Gundagai, Temora, Narrandera, West Wyalong and Grenfell.”
“The Single-Employer Model originally designed by, built and trialled out in parts of Southern NSW is showing real promise in helping with the GP shortages that are impacting our communities. I’m pleased to see that concrete steps are being taken here in the Cootamundra electorate to establish the program.
“The EOI stage will identify which GP practices wish to participate in hosting and supervising a doctor in their practice, on the days they are not working in the local hospital.
“I know that GP shortages are a concern, so I strongly encourage all GP clinics and practice managers across the Cootamundra electorate to contact their Local Health District or the PHN to express a firm interest in this great program if they have the capacity to participate.”
A formal Memorandum of Understanding is yet to be signed between NSW and the Commonwealth to formalise the required arrangements and federal exemptions, however, NSW is ready for a state-wide rollout of the program. By beginning the EOI process, the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is ensuring that regional areas are set and ready to receive new doctors.
The Single-Employer Model is commonly known as the Rural Generalist Training Pathway or the Murrumbidgee model, and was first trialled in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District in 2020. Since its inception, it has been lauded as an important step in giving trainee GPs the chance to work in private practices and local hospitals to provide a greater range of care for local patients.
The model allows seamless transition between hospital and General Practice training placements. Trainees are employed on up to a four year contract (depending on level of entry to the pathway) and remuneration and award entitlements align with other medical specialty training giving certainty and the protection of the industrial award.