Reports of ‘million dollar’ GP packages labeled canary in labor coal mine


Quairading County is the latest local council to dip into its own pockets in a desperate bid to find a GP – but the rural RACGP chairman predicts it won’t be the last.

Doctor holding a sign

The poor distribution of the workforce makes it difficult for some regions to attract and retain general practitioners.

Rural job advertisements generally do not generate nationwide news.

However, the package a small town in Western Australia is about to offer just to lure a new GP – including an annual salary approaching seven figures – has done just that.

“The council will not sit idle when the community is in such critical need,” said Shire Chairman Peter Smith. western australia.

“If we don’t have a doctor, we won’t have a medical clinic. Then we won’t have a hospital, we won’t have a pharmacy and so death will begin.

As well as a base salary of $300,000 – supplemented by consultation fees – it was reported that the GP would also receive rent-free accommodation in a four-bedroom town center house, along with all costs associated with the management of the practice covered by the County.

The post is the latest in a series of similar job opportunities in other rural and remote areas as Australia struggles to deal with labor misdistribution, but the associate professor of President of RACGP Rural, Michael Clements, said newsGP the challenges faced by these cities are more than just a regional concern.

“What we know is that in rural and remote areas, these problems show up first,” he said.

“It’s the singing canaries – where we see the hardest places to fill offering the highest packages or going without.

“But it’s not just a rural or remote problem, we’ve already seen these shortages move to cities.”

Instead, Associate Professor Clements says the increasingly lucrative deals local councils have to make to attract doctors are symptomatic of a wider workforce problem that will require significant investment to address. .

“It’s not just about money, but money has to be part of the conversation,” he said.

“Unless we see something big in this task force on Medicare reform and real investment, the number of cities having to dip into their own pockets will only increase.

And the money does not come from nowhere. This council has decided to invest less money in its playgrounds, less money in its swimming pool, less money in all the other community services so that it can get what it needs.

“That should make our health care planners shiver, because that’s what it will take several years from now to fill even the city vacancies unless someone does something drastic.”

General practice reform is expected to be high on the agenda at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting, ahead of the scheduled release of the report from the government’s strengthening health insurance task force. federal.

Recent media reports suggest that increasing Medicare patient reimbursements – one of the priority reforms identified by GPs – will be overlooked in favor of increased funding for multidisciplinary teams and a move away from the model fee-for-service.

But Associate Professor Clements is among those who think such an approach would not help towns like Quairading.

“We have to fund other parts of the team, not just the GPs, but the reality is you still need a doctor on those teams,” he said.

“Quairading is not crying out for a team of non-GPs to come out and help keep his community hospital open. He needs doctors.

“At the heart of the problem, which is best exemplified by our hardest to fill places in these remote areas, is about needing doctors, needing general practitioners and needing to offer them a package that will work.”

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