In early September RWAV sent a delegation to Canberra to talk to Members of Parliament about the issues facing the health workforce in rural Victoria. Dr Yousuf Ahmad (Chair, RWAV Board), Chris Scott (RWAV Interim CEO), and Lauren Cordwell (RWAV Policy Advisor) had twelve meetings in two days with Members of Parliament and advisors.
RWAV Interim CEO, Chris Scott, said it was an excellent opportunity to meet to discuss the challenges of recruiting and retaining a sustainable health workforce in rural Australia. “We have been meeting with Victorian Federal rural MPs who have embraced our concerns for immediate and long term solutions. They understand what needs to be done to attract and retain a quality workforce to rural Victoria, and it was exciting to showcasing RWAVs achievements, successes and stories.”
“There is a maldistribution of doctors in the city and the country. Something needs to happen. Medicare was supposed to be about creating equitable access to healthcare in Australia for Australians; it is just not working for rural Australia.”
Chair of the RWAV Board, Dr Yousuf Ahmad, said the response from MPs was encouraging. “Victorians living in rural areas do not have the same access to healthcare services as residents in metropolitan areas, and as a result, there is a significant disparity in health outcomes. There are over 139 GP vacancies in rural Victoria, and the GP to patient ratio across rural Victoria remains too high. There was a real appetite from the members of parliament to fix the issues.”
RWAV discussed options including investing in specific block funding for rural general practices to deliver team-based care, expanding locum support programs to include nursing and allied health to enable health professionals to provide quality health care in rural communities, and closing legislative loopholes for after-hours and medical deputising services.
RWAV is continuing discussions with Victorian Members of Parliament and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate further.
The RWAV team with Member for Monash, Russell Broadbent MP.
The RWAV team with Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP.
The RWAV team with Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP.
The RWAV team with Member for Ballarat, Catherine King MP.
The RWAV team with Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster MP.
The RWAV team with Member for Corangamite, Libby Coker MP.