Red tape adding to ACT workforce crisis
FEDERAL bureaucracy has hampered ACT Government and health authority efforts to ease the territory’s workforce crisis, the ACT Division of General Practice (ACTDGP) has claimed.
ACTDGP chair Dr Rashmi Sharma has called on the Federal Government to declare the entire ACT as a district of workforce shortage (DWS), to ease the red tape burden on general practices attempting to lure IMGs to their area.
The calls come after more than 12 months of ACT Government efforts to reverse the territory’s GP workforce crisis. The crisis was the subject of an ACT GP Taskforce’s final report, which was commissioned last year in the wake of a series of practice closures.
Initiatives have included a $4 million development fund for GPs, which allowed individual doctors to apply for up to $50,000 to put towards education and training, infrastructure, innovation or practice staff retention.
Dr Sharma said that while ACT Health efforts to boost GP numbers in the region had been welcome, recruitment efforts would be given a boost if the ACT was treated as a “special case” until workforce numbers were redressed.
“Attracting the workforce to the ACT can be problematic with the registration and District of Workforce Shortage hoops GPs have to jump through,” Dr Sharma said.
“Addressing the GP shortage is essential for effective primary healthcare prevention strategies, which will ease the pressure on acute care and hospital emergency departments.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Health Department said no DWS changes were currently under consideration in the ACT, with much of the territory already classified as eligible.
During the election campaign Labor pledged $15 million to fund a GP super clinic to provide GP training and after-hours services in Canberra.