GP single employer model approved for region

22nd Feb 2023

JUST days after a large community crisis meeting in Armidale about the deleterious state of the primary health care (GP) workforce in the region, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has announced a major shot-in-the-arm to help turnaround the decades-long GP exodus trend.
Mr Marshall said the region has been approved by both the Commonwealth and State Governments as the next trial site for the successful GP Single Employer Model, an initiative which has been endorsed by the New England Division of general Practice and called for at this week’s public meeting.
“While this is no silver bullet, it will go a long way to addressing the sharp decline in GP numbers in the bush and our region and bolster the existing clinics and every hospital in the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said
“I acknowledge Federal Health Minister Mark Butler and Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor for listening to our region’s legitimate concerns and our desire to implement this model, which we believe will help reverse the trend and see more GPs attracted to and remain in the region.
“The Single Employer Model requires the agreement and commitment to funding of both levels of government and I’m delighted that together partisanship has been put aside to deliver the solution we’ve wanted and quickly.”
Under the Model, junior doctors are directly employed at local public hospitals, while still enjoying the flexibility to practice as a private GP in a local practice, under supervision, accessing the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
“This is really the best of both worlds for GPs starting out their careers in medicine and makes being a rural GP so much more attractive and on par with specialists for graduating medical students.
“They are remunerated at high levels, enjoy all the leave and insurance entitlements of salaried NSW Health staff, while still being a private GP accessing the Medicare Scheme and all the benefits which comes with that.
“In essence, it’s a hybrid model of public and private GP to prove extra incentive to come and stay in our region while still training.
“It’s a real win-win scenario and has been hugely successful in the Murrumbidgee Health District, which pioneered the Model some years ago.
Mr Marshall said the next steps would see NSW Health engage with the Commonwealth’s Primary Health Network to sign up GP practices across the Northern Tablelands to take junior doctors, then recruit for multiple positions across the region.
Mr Marshall paid tribute to the hard-working GPs right across the region who were doing more for less and seeing more patients than ever.
“They are the backbone of our country health services but are not often recognised as such,” he said.
“I want to especially single out Dr Vicki Howell and Dr Michelle Guppy from the Division of General Practice, who have spearheaded the push for the rollout of the single employer model here.
“A big thank you also to New England Visions 2030, for keeping the focus on this issue and working on practical solutions.”
Mr Marshall said he would keep the community informed about progress on the rollout of the Single Employer Model across the region.