Regional communities will benefit from a $98.3 million health services boost to support local and visiting frontline health workers as part of a record investment in health services and infrastructure in the bush.
The NSW Nationals in the state government have announced three new initiatives which aim to attract more health workers to regional NSW and support rural and regional patients who need to travel to access care.
The initiatives, which are part of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s recently announced $500 million package, include:
- $45.3 million to deliver modern, sustainable accommodation for health workers close to health facilities in the Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW and Far West Local Health Districts
- $30 million to help attract and retain health care workers, including new scholarships for young people
- $23 million to make it easier to access health care, including support for rural and regional patients who need to travel longer distances and a new online tool to navigate local services.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said a key component of the investment boost was securing more modern and sustainable accommodation for essential health workers which will also generate construction jobs in the regions.
“We know how important it is to ensure there is adequate and modern accommodation close to our health facilities in regional and rural communities that caters for locums, student placements and other visiting medical and nursing staff,” Mr Toole said.
“This funding builds on the $30 million package for health worker housing I recently announced for the Hunter and Western NSW and extends the package to more than $75 million with intended benefits to communities in Broken Hill, Balranald, Cooma, Crookwell and Griffith.
“The package also includes new regional scholarships to encourage young people from the bush to pursue a career in health care closer to home, caring for their communities.”
Nationals Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor said the investment will also go towards supporting patients who need to travel long distances to access specialist care.
“As a registered nurse from the bush, I know first-hand how important it is that patients feel supported when having to travel away from home and their support networks for care,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Living in rural and regional NSW shouldn’t affect the care you receive, and this package delivers on all fronts – ensuring we have the health workforce, infrastructure and support we need.”