Broad inquiry into bush health services welcomed

RURAL doctors have welcomed the announcement of a Senate inquiry into factors affecting health services in the bush, and the Rural Relocation Incentive Grant scheme in particular.

RDAA president Dr Paul Mara said rural GPs had been telling his association for months that the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) scheme was hindering the supply of health professionals to the bush.

“The [ASGC-RA] scheme that determines the incentive payments received by doctors in rural towns has received widespread criticism from doctors working in small communities,” Dr Mara said.

“Our members have been advising us of the adverse effect it is having on their medical practices, and RDAA has been calling for a review of the… system since it was first mooted several years ago.”

The inquiry will examine factors affecting the supply and distribution of health services and medical