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Doctor boost for FNQ

Far North Queenslanders will have easier access to doctors and shorter waiting times after the federal government today announced $62.2 million to fast track the National Rural Generalist Pathway program.

The program will fund initiatives such as coordinated training for regional and rural generalists along with the expansion of the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund to provide more early exposure to regional and rural training.

The funding will be over four years will be included in next week’s federal budget.

Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the funding will help see more doctors in Far North Queensland and provide greater access to quality health services when needed the most.

He said just because people lived outside our capital cities, they shouldn’t have to accept poorer access to doctors.

“This announcement will help deliver more regional and rural generalists into Far North Queensland that will address some of the inequities communities face in terms of getting access to a doctor,” Mr Entsch said.

“Regional and rural generalists play a key role providing health services by providing general practice, emergency care and other specialist services in hospitals and in the community.

“More regional and rural generalists mean enhanced access to services and better health outcomes for Far North Queensland communities.”

Federal Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie said today’s announcement builds on the federal government’s commitment to redress the provision of health services across the nation.

“Australia has the medical workforce, the issue is how that workforce is distributed,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The government is investing in pathways to get Australian doctors into those difficult-to-serve parts of the country.

“We are fulfilling our 2016 election commitment to deliver a pathway and start implementing reforms recommended by the National Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley.

“Professor Paul Worley formed the National Rural Generalist Pathway Taskforce which appointed working groups and expert reference groups to help develop the pathway.

“The taskforce presented its advice to the Rural Health Commissioner on 21 December 2018 with 19 recommendations.”

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