Primary Health Tasmania has received $2 million in Australian Government funding to address GP recruitment and retention issues in north and north western Tasmania.
We have been working in partnership with Tasmanian rural workforce agency, HR+ and the Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania to better understand the barriers to accessing GP services in these regions, and identify possible solutions.
As a first step, we developed a background paper and undertook stakeholder consultation to make sure our picture of general practice access and workforce challenges and opportunities in Tasmania is as complete as possible.
Stakeholders invited to respond to the survey included GPs and practice managers in north and north west Tasmania; workforce, recruitment, training and support organisations; the State Government; and peak bodies for general practice and related primary health disciplines.
This consultation sought input on gaps and issues plus ideas on possible solutions – solutions which are different to initiatives already in place. The aim is to complement and integrate with existing recruitment and retention measures.
The feedback received had the following themes:
the nature of rural general practice
access to and training of registrars
logistics of recruitment
It’s important to note that this is a specific, time-limited funding initiative that won’t be able to address all of the issues raised through consultation.
Primary Health Tasmania is now working with HR+ and a small group of general practices in north and north west Tasmania to develop and test a new audit tool. Practices will be able to use this tool to understand key issues affecting their ability to recruit and retain GPs. This work will occur from January to June 2022.
A small grants program will be offered from August 2022 for eligible practices who have undertaken an audit and identified particular needs. There will also be a range of targeted support available in response to identified needs.
In addition to this support, Primary Health Tasmania and HR+ Tasmania will:
advocate for further improvements (where beyond the scope of this funding)
educate general practices about additional support available
consider how our organisations’ existing general practice support programs can contribute to future solutions.