HEALTH PLANS: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
HEALTH PLANS: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

Government's plan to keep our doctors

AFTER brushing off claims that doctors would soon flee regional areas over the contract crisis, Premier Campbell Newman has detailed how difficult it could be placing doctors outside the south-east corner.

Mr Newman said perceived difficulties with career advancement and work-lifestyle balance for families were the main reasons it was difficult to recruit and keep staff in regional Queensland.

Palmer United Party MP Carl Judge had asked the Premier what steps he was taking to prepare for the challenge of an aging popultion.

The government's Blueprint for Better Healthcare in Queensland report revealed the state's population is set to increase to 6.1 million people by 2026 and that 1.1 million of these people will be aged 65 and over.

Mr Newman, in a response tabled in parliament yesterday, said his government was targeting junior medicos looking for valuable hands-on experience.

He said while aged care support was a federal responsibility, his government was one of the last remaining to still run residential aged care services.

"The medical workforce is largely centred in the south-east corner of Queensland," he said.

"Historically, recruitment and retention in regional and rural areas has been more difficult compared to metropolitan areas.

"To address this imbalance, the government is involved in a range of medical workforce initiatives such as the statewide vocational training pathways, including the Basic Physician Training Pathway and the General Medicine Advanced Training Pathway."

Mr Newman said the pathways provided a mechanism for co-ordinating training placements and supported a more equitable distribution of the junior medical workforce.

"The pathways enable trainees in regional Queensland to access specialty training placements in large tertiary hospitals to complete training requirements and to access educational and training sessions via video

conferencing," Mr Newman said.

"Queensland has had a significant growth in domestic medical graduates in recent years, increasing from 280 in 2005 to 705 in 2014, and is projected to grow to 737 in 2017.''

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