Primary Health Tasmania has received $2 million in Australian Government funding to address GP recruitment and retention issues in north and north west 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.
Understanding the challenges and opportunities
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.
The AWARE tool
In response to consultation, Primary Health Tasmania engaged HR+ to develop an audit tool to support Tasmanian general practices to identify strengths and address developmental areas affecting the recruitment and retention of GPs. It’s called the Australian Workforce Assessment Recruitment and Retention Exercise (AWARE) tool.
Designed specifically for regional, rural and remote general practice, the AWARE tool seeks to identify opportunities for general practices to improve their ability to recruit and retain GPs.
The tool has been designed and piloted with the assistance of Brentnalls Health and a small group of general practices in north and north west Tasmania.
Practices can use this tool to understand key issues affecting their ability to recruit and retain GPs. This tool can be accessed at www.hrplustas.com.au/aware