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Grants to help country practices

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The Federal Government has given $13 million in grants towards general practices in regional Australia, to enable more doctors, nurses and other health professionals to complete their training there.

Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie recently announced that grants of up to $300,000 each have been offered to successful applicants across Australia to upgrade their facilities and allow for more training in country practice.

The grants must be matched by the selected practices.

“These grants will enable more doctors and other health professionals to get their hands-on training in regional communities,” Dr Gillespie said.

“That provides an immediate benefit to the communities, with more health professionals available to attend to their needs.”

The grants will be used to expand practice facilities with additional consultation rooms and space to allow for more teaching. Grants will also be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.

As well as construction or renovation, they may be spent on fit out, computing technology or medical equipment.

“In the longer term, it also makes it more likely that junior doctors will choose to stay in these or other rural communities, when they are fully qualified,” the Minister said.

“The Government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs.

“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”

The list of successful applicants is available on the Department of Health’s website www.health.gov.au. The successful applicants will receive their grants during 2016-17 and 2017-18.