A new plan to attract doctors to rural postings has been released for consultation as South Australia continues to face challenges in regional areas.
Developed by the Rural Health Workforce Steering Committee, the draft plan will be the basis for a program to recruit, train and develop doctors and other medical staff to areas of the state where the health system is hanging on by a thread.
State Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade the State Government faced a raft of challenges in attracting the professionals needed to deliver public health services in regional and rural areas.
"We currently have 35 vacancies in South Australia's General Practice training program, all of which are vacancies in regional areas," he said.
"These vacancies affect both the services we can offer and the future general practice workforce supply.
"Our draft Rural Medical Workforce Plan, developed by the Rural Health Workforce Steering Committee, outlines strategies to help attract more doctors to the regions and empower our country clinicians with the support they need, when and where they need it."
Consultation of the plan will take place throughout August and September with key stakeholders and health professionals providing feedback for the program.
Rural Health Workforce Steering Committee chair Dr Hendrika Meyer said the aim of the plan was to bolster the number of senior doctors and medical trainees in rural South Australia.
"Some of the strategies to address the shortage include expanding intern and resident training capacity in rural hospitals, increasing exposure to rural experiences for metropolitan based medical interns, and linking training pathways to future rural employment opportunities," she said.
"By involving clinicians and stakeholders across regional South Australia, we will ensure the plan can be tailored to the needs of the local community."
For more information and to view the draft plan, go to www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/ruralhealthworkforce