Keeping GPs in needy areas: new panel takes on task

Dr Steve Hambleton, the immediate past president of the AMA, and Dr Paul Mara, a former president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), have been appointed to the panel, along with Professor John Humphreys, emeritus professor of rural health research at Monash University.

They have been given one month to consult with rural doctors and health organisations and take public submissions on how to better target the General Practice Rural Incentives Programme (GPRIP), intended to keep doctors in needy areas of rural, remote and regional Australia.

The panel, publicly named today by assistant health minister Senator Fiona Nash, has also been asked to consult on the value of junior doctors having exposure to rural practice.

Dr Mara, a GP in Gundagai, NSW, said there was no prospect of reviving a version of the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP), which encouraged junior doctors to take up general practice.