The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) is calling on the New South Wales Government to ensure the new health worker study subsidy includes future doctors working towards a career in general practice.
It comes following the NSW Government announcing it will commit more than $120 million towards supporting 12,000 healthcare students via study subsidies over five years. New students will receive scholarships of $4,000 per year and existing students one-off payments of $8,000.
RACGP NSW Chair, Professor Charlotte Hespe, said that the future of the GP workforce must be front of mind.
“Recruiting and retaining healthcare workers is important, but it must not come at the expense of our GP workforce,” she said.
“We urgently need clarity. My understanding is that to receive the scholarships the students need to commit to the state’s public health system for five years. There must always be a focus on encouraging more future doctors to become GPs rather than deterring them from a career in general practice – it’s as simple as that.
“So, I call on the Government to meet with the RACGP right away, have the future of the GP workforce front of mind, and ensure that this subsidy scheme is inclusive of the GP training system. If not, the ramifications for the state’s entire health system and the wellbeing of patients across New South Wales, will prove dire.”
The RACGP NSW Chair said that boosting the GP workforce in New South Wales was essential to the future of the entire healthcare system.
“We must secure the future of our GP workforce so that no patients are left behind,” she said.
“By 2030, there is projected to be a shortfall of almost 10,000 GPs nation-wide and many communities in my home state of New South Wales, particularly outside of major cities, will be without a practice to turn to. So, we must bolster the general practice workforce at every opportunity. If people can’t access high-quality GP care when they need it, they may well end up in a hospital emergency department with a far more serious condition and the entire system comes under even greater pressure.
“I can tell you from my own experience that being a GP is an incredibly rewarding career. You are a valued member of your community, and no two days of work are the same. The mission is to help make more future doctors see this, and study subsidy schemes must encourage future doctors to take up a career in general practice. I look forward to hearing from the NSW Government, the future of the GP workforce.”
RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.
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