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Gippsland will receive more than $1.4 million in Federal Government funding to increase the number of rural-based doctors in training and expand opportunities for them to work in primary care settings.

Under the first round of the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF), Eastern GP Training will be provided with funding of $1,190,477, while Bairnsdale Regional Health Service will receive $249,585 to increase intern rotations throughout Gippsland.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today said the initiative was an important step forward in boosting the number of rural doctors in Gippsland.

“This funding will provide 36 rotations spread across the Heyfield Medical Centre, Maffra Medical Group and the Cunninghame Arm Medical Centre at Lakes Entrance, which is the equivalent of 2.4 full-time positions,” Mr Chester said.

“This funding will assist our junior doctors to live, work and study locally. We want to recruit and retain young doctors, and this program will help them experience life as a local doctor.”

Announcing up to $13.6 million for the first round of the RJDTIF on Tuesday, then-Federal Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie said 11 organisations would be funded to provide 121 training rotations in rural locations across Australia, which is equivalent to 26 full-time positions.

“This program will help address the gap in the rural training pathway for new medical graduates and support interns based in rural areas by providing rotations in general practice,” Minister Gillespie said.

“The Federal Nationals in government are committed to training the next generation of rural doctors, and this program is among a number of major initiatives to improve access to health professionals for everyone who calls regional, rural and remote Australia home.”

The RJDTIF strengthens the regional training hubs component of the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline for Medicine, which coordinates training in rural medicine, meaning increased retention of graduates in rural areas.

The funding will be used for clinical supervision, education and training materials, travel and accommodation expenses, and cover the salary of the junior doctor while they are in a primary care setting.

Minister Gillespie congratulated Mr Chester on his strong advocacy of The Nationals’ health agenda.

“Darren has been a strong supporter of our efforts to expand doctor training in regional areas, and I’m delighted that his electorate will benefit from this program,” Minister Gillespie said.

More details about the RJDTIF are available on the Department of Health website.

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