Rural Health Workforce Strategy

Rural Health Workforce Strategy 2018–2022

South Australia faces many challenges in recruiting, training and developing the health professionals and skilled volunteers needed to deliver public health services in rural areas.

The Government of South Australia committed $20 million over four years, from 2018–19 to 2021–22, to develop and implement the Rural Health Workforce Strategy 2018–2022

To deliver the commitment, a Rural Health Workforce Strategy Steering Committee was convened, chaired by Dr Hendrika Meyer, Chief Clinical Advisor, Rural Support Service. The Steering Committee has representation from regional local health networks, universities, peak bodies, medical colleges, training and workforce providers and the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Under the leadership of the committee, a project framework was developed which allowed the development, consultation and release of six comprehensive rural workforce plans, across all major rural health professional groups:

Implementation of each plan is occurring across all regional LHNs with significant improvements in the status of the rural health workforce in South Australia resulting from the strategy.

Significant achievements include the:

  • launch of the medical Rural Generalist Program SA, which is leading to enhanced rural training numbers and increasing the numbers of applicants to rural General Practice training in SA
  • successful Allied Health Rural Generalist Program, enhancing the skills of our rural allied health professionals and the services they provide to rural communities
  • Mid North caseload midwifery model of care, which has now been demonstrated as a cost effective and high-quality model to provide birthing services to rural communities and is being taken up across regional LHNs.

Each of the published workforce plans has a five-year timeframe, with implementation and evaluation to continue following the end of the formal election commitment. A focus of the monitoring and evaluation process is to identify pilot projects with a view to translation across regional LHNs, and potentially across the state. There are opportunities to take the work resulting from the Rural Health Workforce Strategy to inform both state and national workforce strategy development.

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