Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has today unveiled a $632 million commitment to boost the number of training places for doctors and specialists, as part of the federal government's push for reforms in the sector.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has today unveiled a $632 million commitment to boost the number of training places for doctors and specialists, part of the federal government's push for reforms in the sector.
Over the next 10 years, the federal government plans to deliver an additional 5,500 new or training GPs, 680 medical specialists and 5,400 pre-vocational general practice program training places.
Due to an historic lack of investment, we inherited a situation where workforce shortages are impacting on 59 per cent of all Australians.
To address this, the Rudd Government is:
-doubling the number of places available for medical graduates to train to become a General Practitioner from 600 when the government took office to 1,200 a year by 2014;
-more than doubling the current number of places available for medical graduates to undertake training to become specialist doctors in private, community and rural settings from 360 to 900 by 2014;
-doubling the number of places available for junior doctors to experience a career in general practice before they become a fully fledged doctor to 975 places a year by 2013.
These major investments will meet projected shortfalls, and help reduce pressure on hospitals by improving access and availability of GP and specialist services.
Today's announcement will build on the Commonwealth's commitment to permanently fund 60 per cent of teaching and research in our public hospital systems, as part of the new funding arrangements under the National Health and Hospital Network.
Since coming into office, the Government has already committed a record $1.1 billion to train more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, including:
-investing $496.5 million to expand undergraduate clinical training places;
-providing 212 additional ongoing GP training places.
Alongside these investments, the government has also established Health Workforce Australia, Australia's first health workforce planning agency to better plan for our future health workforce needs.
These critical additional investments will be included and offset across the forward estimates in the 2010-11 Budget, consistent with the Government's strict fiscal strategy.
The Government has already delivered more than $55 billion worth of saves across the budget, including in the health portfolio, to make room for important national reforms.
The Government will continue to make the tough decisions necessary to deliver additional investments in a new National Health and Hospital Network, and will report on these decisions in the Budget, consistent with Budget practice.
The Government will make further announcements about investments in the Australian health workforce over the coming weeks.