The Rural Health Workforce Support Activity provides funding to Rural Workforce Agencies (RWAs) in each state and the Northern Territory to provide a range of activities and support to improve the recruitment and retention of GPs to rural and remote areas. This includes helping communities to recruit health professionals, finding appropriate placements for health professionals who want to relocate to rural Australia, assisting with the costs of relocation, supporting their families with fitting into a new community and helping health professionals to access the necessary infrastructure, support and training.
Rural Workforce Agencies are also the central point of contact for GPs and other health professionals interested in practising in rural and remote areas.
Under the Rural Health Workforce Support Activity (RWA program), RWAs in each state and the Northern Territory are funded to deliver a range of activities aimed at addressing the maldistribution of the health workforce through the following program elements:
- Access: will improve access and continuity of access to essential primary health care, particularly in priority areas, through a jurisdictional workforce assessment process involving health workforce stakeholders.
- Quality: will build local health workforce capability with a view to ensuring communities can access the right health professional at the right time, reducing the reliance on non-vocationally recognised medical professionals in rural communities.
- Sustainability: will grow the sustainability and supply of the health workforce with a view to strengthening the long-term access to appropriately qualified health professionals.
The RWA program consolidates and rationalises the following activities formerly provided by Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA) and RWAs:
- Rural and Remote General Practice ProgramL Funding to the RWAs to support the rural workforce.
- General Practice Rural Incentive Program – Flexible Payment System: Funding to the RWAs to implement.
- International Recruitment Scheme: Previously funded through RHWA. Program ceased 31 March 2017.
- Go Rural: Previously funded through RHWA. Program ceased 31 March 2017.
Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA) is the national coordinating body that provides support for Rural Workforce Agencies, including national advocacy and representation.